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  About Even Higher

It was my publisher who came up with the idea of a retelling of Even Higher. She floated the idea by during my book launch for Rachel’s Library.

“Richard,” she said, “you know, there’s a wonderful story about a Rabbi who everyone thinks goes to heaven on the day before Rosh Hashanah…why don’t you do it as a picture book?”

It was a great opportunity but to be honest I was a little bit nervous about taking it on. I had just switched day jobs and I wasn’t confident that I could do the illustrations under any kind of normal deadline. Luckily she wasn’t in any rush for it and we settled on two years for the finished art.

Two Years later...

Almost exactly two years later, I arrived at my publisher’s office with the finished paintings. I was actually quite proud of them. This was my 4th picture book and I knew the ropes. I made sure that the eye colour of my main character, Reuven, stayed the same and that he didn’t undergo any sudden wardrobe changes.

But when I pulled one of the paintings out of my portfolio, I had a moment of sheer panic. It was a painting that I had spent about 6 weeks working on; a two page spread of the Rabbi of Nemirov walking through the woods carrying an axe. A very nice painting, except for the fact that he was supposed to be carrying pieces of firewood and not an axe!

I was the only one who could help him. I muttered something about a little touch-up and took the painting home. Luckily I was able to fix it. The nice thing about working in watercolours is that most of the time you can rub things out so long as you don’t use too much elbow.

  click to enlarge

Published by Tundra Books
ISBN: 978-0-88776-758-6

        Cover artwork used with permission.
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content & artwork © Richard Ungar | website by Hoffworks