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Mrs. Kaputnik's Pool Hall and Matzo Ball Emporium [Kindle Edition]

Rona Arato
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $9.95
Kindle Price: $8.99
You Save: $0.96 (10%)
Sold by: Random House LLC

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Book Description

Treat yourself to a visit to the wackiest restaurant ever!Ten-year-old Shoshi and her eight-year-old brother, Moshe, arrive in New York in 1898 from Russia with their mother and Snigger, the baby dragon that saved them from an attack by Cossack soldiers. Five years earlier, their father had also come to New York to make his fortune, but no one has heard from him since. Through a series of adventures and misadventures, Shoshi and Moshe use their wits to navigate through New York City's Lower East Side, making new friends and even a few foes: Salty, the seaman who helps the family smuggle Snigger through Ellis Island; Aloysius P. Thornswaddle, carnival barker extraordinaire; Dingle Hinglehoffer, pitcher for the Brooklyn Slobbers; and the mysterious Man in the Black Cape. With the help of Snigger, they set out to solve the mystery behind their father's disappearance, helping to free the Lower East Side from the tyrannical rule of gangster Nick the Stick along the way. Mrs. Kaputnik's Pool Hall and Matzo Ball Emporium is a colorful tale that blends history and fantasy with a journey of discovery, adventure, and fun.


From the Trade Paperback edition.


Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 4-6 Emigrating from Russia in hopes of reuniting with their father in America, Shoshi and Moshe Kapustin and their mother get renamed Kaputnik on Ellis Island. Their story would be placed squarely in the historical fiction genre if not for their pet dragon. Hatched from an egg acquired from a mysterious peddler, Snigger saves the family from a Cossack raid, but his presence raises fear in the superstitious villagers, and the Kapustins are forced to leave. This give-and-take of owning a dragon continues throughout the journey and in New York, where Snigger raises as much delight as trouble. Heavy on plot elements (the trials and tribulations of immigration, a gangster trying to shake down the neighborhood, a baseball rivalry between the oddly named Yoinkles and Slobbers), red herrings (is the man who helped get Snigger through customs in cahoots with the gangster?), and reappearing characters, there is never a proper balance struck between the whimsical and realistic moments. Even dragon lovers may find the humor falling flat. Joanna K. Fabicon, Los Angeles Public Library
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

With fantasy, farce, and also a strong sense of realism, this lively paperback, illustrated with small drawings, tells a story of Jewish immigration from the viewpoint of a child. Snigger, a small dragon, saves 10-year-old Shoshi, her little brother, and her mother from the Cossacks in Russia, and after the family makes it to Manhattan's Lower East Side in 1898, Snigger helps them stand up to mean relatives and neighborhood thugs. But how will they find Papa? Why didn't he send for them for five years while they were in Russia or even answer their letters? Mama tries to start a restaurant, but her matzo balls are so hard that the Brooklyn Slobbers can use them as baseballs when they play at Nebbisch Field. The kvetching and quarrels, the wry Yiddish idiom, and the search for the father will bring the coming-to-America story to young grade-schoolers, who will also enjoy the little dragon's defeat of the crooks, complete with the kids' escape on Snigger's wings as he flies above the tenements where they live. Grades 3-6. --Hazel Rochman

Product Details

  • File Size: 909 KB
  • Print Length: 194 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0887769675
  • Publisher: Tundra Books (February 5, 2010)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003772K8I
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,761,444 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Immigrants, Gangsters & a Dragon May 22, 2010
Format:Paperback
Reason for Reading: The combination of the time period (1898) and a dragon intrigued me. I read this aloud to my 9yo.

The Kapustins have immigrated to the USA because Papa has been gone for five years and has not answered any of their letters. Escaping the Cossacks and worried they arrive on Ellis Island, find the family restaurant and are told Papa left one day and didn't come back. The aunt and uncle running the place have turned it into a shambles. On their first night there, aunt and uncle steal their money leaving a note that they have taken it as payment for the restaurant, Mama can have it, they are going south. Mama must figure out a way to make a living off the restaurant but her matzo balls won't cook properly; they are more like stones. The children are trying to find Papa. The gangster Nick the Stick is making them pay protection money and they are never quite sure if their new friend Mr. Thornswaddle, circus barker extraordinaire, can be trusted. Oh, yes, and by the way they also accidentally brought a baby dragon over with them who doesn't make the situation any easier.

A fun, story with lots of silly situations going on that are unrealistic. The Russian Jew immigrants bring with them a folk tale sense of the tall tale and much that happens in the story is over the top, creating some laugh out loud moments and just plain silliness. But also, the author manages to set the characters in the real world of a turn of the century Jewish neighbourhood in New York and the reader sees the immigrant experience as well as life for a child in this era of New York. The names of the characters are a lot of fun too, such as Aloysius P.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Mrs. Kaputnik February 7, 2011
Format:Paperback
In a very different immigrant tale, Mrs. Kapustin and her two children, Moshe and Shoshi, come to New York from Russia to have a better life. The twist in this tale is that the children bring along a little dragon they found before they left. After a difficult voyage across the ocean, the small family finds nothing but trouble when they land at Ellis Island. Their name is changed, like many immigrants. Now known as the Kaputniks, they travel into the city to find that Papa, who came to America several years before, has disappeared, and the relatives who were supposed to have a thriving restaurant, cheat them out of their small savings and leave the dying business to them. Mrs. Kaputnik and the children are very resourceful and use the dragon to entice people into their shop. The local gangster demands protection money, but the Kaputniks find a way to keep him away. As it turns out, this gangster, "Nick the Stick," is key to helping them find out what happened to their Papa. Although immigrant stories are almost as plentiful as Holocaust tales, this novel uses fantasy devices such as the dragon and the mysterious disappearance of Mr. Kapustin, to heighten the suspense and give the reader an exciting and unusual tale. Grades 3-5. Suzi Dubin
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