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Mrs. Katz and Tush (Dell Picture Yearling) Paperback – March 1, 1994

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 3 - 7 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 2
  • Lexile Measure: 530L (What's this?)
  • Series: Dell Picture Yearling
  • Paperback: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Dragonfly Books; Reprint edition (March 1, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0440409365
  • ISBN-13: 978-0440409366
  • Product Dimensions: 9.9 x 7.8 x 0.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #30,809 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Zesty art and sensitive storytelling light up these two books, the first about an elderly Jewish widow and her young African American neighbor, the second set in Amish country. Ages 4-8.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

Kindergarten-Grade 3-- A warm, lovingly told story about an intergenerational relationship. It is the beginning of a long friendship between Mrs. Katz, widowed, childless, and lonely, and her young African-American neighbor, Larnel, when he presents her with a scraggly kitten. On his daily visit to the elderly woman and her pet, they talk about Mrs. Katz's husband, her arrival in the United States from Poland, and the similar experiences of Jews and African-Americans. Larnel accompanies her to say kaddish at her husband's grave, and attends her Passover seder. When Tush has kittens, Mrs. Katz feels fulfilled, a bubee (grandmother) at last. The final illustration shows an adult Larnel with Mrs. Katz holding his baby, and the story ends with him and his family visiting the woman's grave. Mrs. Katz's dialogue reflects her Yiddish background without being obtrusive. The charcoal and watercolor illustrations are in Polacco's usual style, with large areas of white space emphasizing the characters rather than their surroundings. The character portrayals are vivid and lively, with a hint of humor. Polacco pays careful attention to detail, even to the age blemishes on Mrs. Katz's hands. A fine book for group or individual sharing. --Susan Giffard, Englewood Public Library, NJ
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

More About the Author

Born Patricia Ann Barber in Lansing, Michigan, to parents of Russian and Ukrainian descent on one side and Irish on the other, Patricia Polacco grew up in both California and Michigan. Her school year was spent in Oakland, California, and summers in her beloved Michigan. She describes her family members as marvelous storytellers. "My fondest memories are of sitting around a stove or open fire, eating apples and popping corn while listening to the old ones tell glorious stories about their homeland and the past. We are tenacious traditionalists and sentimentalists.... With each retelling our stories gain a little more Umph!"Studying in the United States and Australia, Patricia Polacco has earned an M.F.A. and a Ph. D. in art history, specializing in Russian and Greek painting, and iconographic history. She is a museum consultant on the restoration of icons. As a participant in many citizen exchange programs for writers and illustrators, Patricia Polacco has traveled extensively in Russia as well as other former Soviet republics. She continues to support programs that encourage Russo-American friendships and understanding. She is also deeply involved in inner-city projects here in the U.S. that promote the peaceful resolution of conflict and encourage art and literacy programs.The mother of a grown son and a daughter, Patricia Polacco currently resides in Michigan, where she has a glorious old farm that was built during the time of Lincoln.

Customer Reviews

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Characters have wit, charm and integrity.
Melissa Hinkson
For the bloopers I'm docking it a star, but it's still a great story and I highly recommend it to both Jews and gentiles.
Rabbi Yonassan Gershom
This book enables children to develop an understanding about life in different cultures.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

47 of 47 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 25, 1998
Format: Paperback
I bought this book for my daughter who was 4 at the time, at a book fair. I really didn't know what it was about. It became her favorite book and now 3 years later still is. Since then we have read most of Patricia Polacco's books and we love them all but "Mrs. Katz and Tush" and "Thundercakes" are our favorites. I say our favorites because I like them as much as she does. Mrs. Katz and Tush is a gentle heartwarming story of diversity, giving and unconditional love. An old white Jewish widow and a young black Christian boy are about as different as you can get, yet they show us that none of that matters when compassion and love are involved. I cry everytime I read this book it touches me so. In this time of so much hate in our country this book gives the subtle message to children that we can all live together as one family.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By J. J. Falcone on September 16, 2000
Format: Paperback
That is Mrs. Katz' highest praise for the little kitten that a young African American neighbor has brought her to keep her company after her husband dies. And so begins a lifetime of love, loyalty and devotion between two families that are as different as can be, and yet, surprisingly alike. Growing up in a culturally diverse neighborhood like the one that Mrs. Katz and Larnel shared, it was a joy to see Patricia Polacco's warm illustrations, and to hear the familiar rhythms and cadences of the dialogue.
It is indeed a magical book, with a story that transcends cultural differences and generational conflict. Each character is defined by their relationship to the other, and at the end we see the beautiful changes that can grow from love and affection.
I hope that you can enjoy reading this book with children you love, it is a most rewarding and pleasurable experience.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Rabbi Yonassan Gershom VINE VOICE on March 29, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This is the story of a loving friendship between an elderly Jewish lady from Poland named Mrs. Katz, and an African-American child named Larnel. Mrs. Katz lives alone in her apartment and doesn't have anyone to visit her. (It's not stated in the book, but, since this appears to be a predominantly African-American inner city neighborhood, one wonders if she was left behind by the Jewish community when the more affluent members moved to the suburbs? In real life it has happened...) Larnel's mother stops by to visit her every other day or so, and brings Larnel with her.
One day, Larnel gets the idea to give Mrs. Katz a kitten from the litter that was born in the basement of his apartment building. (Get the pun -- Katz/cats? Actually, the name "Katz" has nothing to do with "cats," but it's cute anyway.) Mrs. Katz names the kitten Tush, which is Yiddish for "bottom," because it has no tail. Larnel agrees to help her care for Tush, and from this sharing, a lifelong friendship grows.
The story is well-written, the characters are well-developed and "real." The illustrations are vibrant, beautifully done, and ethnically accurate. Well, almost. There are a couple Jewish bloopers. For one thing, the menorah sitting by Mrs. Katz's window only has seven branches. A Hanukkah menorah has nine -- eight for the eight days plus an extra for the "servant" candle. The seven-branched menorah mentioned in the Bible was specifically for the Jerusalem Temple, and is not usually found in the home. Since Hanukkah was mentioned in the story, I have to assume that this was supposed to be a Hanukkah menorah.
The second blooper is the scene in the bakery. Mrs. Katz is shopping for PASSOVER -- a time when no leaven is to be found anywhere in a Jewish home. It is not just a matter of eating matzoh.
Read more ›
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Reader on April 1, 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As with many of Patricia Polacco's books, Mrs. Katz & Tush starts with a friendship, adds a simple story line, seasons it with an understanding look at a particular culture or two, adds a dash of humour, and ties it all together with illustrations that enrich the story (other examples, among many: Babushka Baba Yaga, Just Plain Fancy and Chicken Sunday).
In this story the lives of two very different neighbors are drawn together through a small, tail-less kitten named Tush (the name itself brings giggles to the 4 year old set). Larnel, dragged along by his mother to visit an elderly widowed neighbor (and the picture of him in his chair shows you all that you need to know about how he feels about being there!) surprises himself by feeling compassion for lonely Mrs. Katz. He brings her the runt of a litter of kittens, saying that nobody else wants it. Mrs. Katz reluctantly accepts the kitten, on the condition that Larnel will help her learn how to care for it. He agrees, and a life-long friendship is begun.
There are so many great parts to this book- the growing understanding about the things that we have in common, no matter how disparate our backgrounds, messages on ethnicity, on generational relationships, and so on- that you could get the idea that this is a 'good-for-you' book. But at it's heart Mrs. Katz & Tush is the work of a master storyteller and illustrator, and is a story that the children ask for again & again & again. Ours are still savouring it after 3 years, and show no signs of growing weary of it. The illustrations- especially some of the expressions- are some of Polacco's best efforts. Don't miss this one!
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