Friday, October 14, 2011

The Cats in the Doll Shop-Yona Zeldis McDonough and Heather Maione (Illustrator)

The Cats in the Doll Shop

Yona Zeldis McDonough and Heather Maione (Illustrator)

Viking, Nov 10 2011, $14.99

ISBN: 978670012794

In New York City, the letter arrives from Russia written in Hebrew informing Mama and Papa that their eleven year old niece Tania is coming to live with them as her Mama obtained a position as a maid but with no children allowed. Whereas eleven years old Anna is exhilarated with a cousin her age for at least a year until her aunt can come too; her nine years old sister Trudy and her smarty pants teenage sibling Sophie are not quite as exuberant with the prospect.

As they anxiously wait to show their cousin their parents’ store Breittlemann’s Doll Shop, the three sisters tend to an injured kitten they name Plucky; Papa remains adamant no felines in his house as cats are outdoors in the old country. Tania arrives sad and lonely. Anna soon realizes her belligerent cousin is like Plucky unable to communicate and feeling lost without her Mama.

The continuation of the early twentieth century New York Lower East Side tenant family drama (see The Doll Shop Downstairs) is a great middle school historical. The timely engaging story line is character driven by the four young girls and the intrepid cat as readers will enjoy a slice of life while learning how much immigrants have brought to this great nation.

Harriet Klausner

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