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47 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book brings tears to my eyes
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...
Published on August 25, 1998

versus
0 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars *shrugs*
I want to like this one. It has all the things in it I usually like - unforced diversity, holidays, cats, intergenerational relationships, sweetness... but for some reason I just can never get into it. I don't understand why. I like other books by this author, but this one, not so much.
Published on April 25, 2010 by Ulyyf


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47 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book brings tears to my eyes, August 25, 1998
By A Customer
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
5.0 out of 5 stars Such a Person!, September 16, 2000
By 
J. J. Falcone "Justina Reads!" (S.W. Florida via Brooklyn, NY) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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
4.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful story, even if the illos have some bloopers..., March 29, 2004
This review is from: Mrs. Katz and Tush (A Bantam little rooster book) (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. The entire house is cleaned of anything even resembling leaven, and even owning leavened products is forbidden. That being the case, why is she shopping for her Passover feast in a bakery, of all places? She is clearly pointing at a cake or some rolls, and these would NOT be served on Passover! So nu, maybe she's a Reform Jew and not so strict? But in that case, why is that very Hasidic-looking gentleman in the corner shopping there? Surely HE would not serve bread for Passover! (...)
These are relatively minor quibbles, given the overall good quality of the book. But when it comes to children's books, I insist on total accuracy with regard to Judaism, because these are the images that will stick in the mind for years to come. Granted, this is not a "Jewish" book per se, it's a multicultural book -- which is all the more reason to pay more attention to the Jewish details, lest the reader(s) be misled. 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.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect Polacco, April 1, 2002
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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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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How to be a mensch, July 2, 2002
I have read this schmaltzy tale of friendship bridging two cultures dozens of times. Not once have I finished it with dry eyes. This is the stuff that dreams are made of.

Mrs. Katz, a widowed old woman befriended Larnel Moore, a young boy. She gifted him with Yiddishisms-and good cooking. "Kugel! Such a kugel I baked for you today." She also gave a heart as warm as the sweater she knitted for him.

In turn, Larnel also performed many mitzvot (good deeds). Mrs. Katz needed a friend. He became that friend. He gave her a cat, too, for when he couldn't be there. Mrs. Katz took the kitty, who reminded her of her Myron, who was ugly as a child, too, "but such a person!" She named the kitty Tush, Yiddish for `behind,' because she had no tail. When the cat escaped through an open window, Larnel did everything to find her. His everything included prayers.

Larnel became a grandchild to Mrs. Katz, and she his grandmother. Everything else is commentary.

Each child enriched by this joyous tale of sharing and kindness will come that much closer to being a mensch (a good person). Such a person!

--- Alyssa A. Lappen
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Charming, July 1, 2013
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This review is from: Mrs. Katz and Tush (A Bantam little rooster book) (Hardcover)
A lovely tale of learning to appreciate each other for our difference in age and ethnicity. Probably a first-second grade self-reading book. Interest level through third grade. For 4-5's, likely a read-to book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A heartwarming book, July 13, 2009
By 
The Book Nosher (Bainbridge Island, WA USA) - See all my reviews
Mrs. Katz and Tush remains one of my favorite books from my own children's early years. It tells the story of an elderly Jewish woman and a young African-American boy, and the unlikely friendship that develops between them. Mrs. Katz lives alone, and one day Larnel goes with his mother to visit her. Larnel's mother explains to him that Mrs. Katz's husband has just died, and she is lonely. Larnel sees how sad she is and asks her if she'd be interested in taking in a kitten that nobody wants. Mrs. Katz agrees, but only if he will help her raise the cat, whom she eventually names Tush. Thus begins a lifelong friendship between the two of them.

Larnel visits Mrs. Katz every day after school and she tells him stories about the old country, her husband Myron, as well as different Jewish customs. She tells him about the days when Jews weren't allowed in certain places and Larnel remembers stories from his grandmother, and realizes that their cultures have a lot of similarities. Slowly Larnel and Mrs. Katz become like a family to one another.

Mrs. Katz and Tush does a nice job of both honoring our differences, while at the same time pointing out our similarities. It gives a snapshot into Jewish life, and deals with life cycle events as well as the holidays of Chanukah and Passover. There will be some unfamiliar words like kugel, huppa and kaddish, but they are placed in context and children should be able to understand their meaning.

Polacco is a masterful storyteller and her books are filled with memorable characters and a lot of emotion. I have to admit I have never been able to read Mrs. Katz and Tush out loud without my voice catching in a particular place towards the end of the book. It's one of those books that can be savored over and over again.
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5.0 out of 5 stars It made me cry!, August 4, 2014
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Mrs. Katz was "such a person!" A Jewish immigrant from Warsaw, Poland, she came to America to make a new life. She couldn't speak English and was lonely until she met her husband Myron. Unfortunately, they were not blessed with children and now, as a widow, Mrs. Katz is all alone. A young black boy and his mother befriend her and when a cat has kittens in their basement they bring the last little kitten to Mrs. Katz to keep her company. The kitten has no tail so her name becomes Tush. Since she has never had a cat before she needs help every day to learn about kittens and Tush becomes "such a person!" to her.

The lovely story of two people from different backgrounds who discover that their ancestors have much in common is one of those books that you will keep and reread. The little boy learns the history of the Jews and his family adopts Mrs. Katz as their own bubbe. Tush also adds to the family with kittelehs of her own. They celebrate Passover together.

The little boy becomes a man and brings his wife and children to see their bubbe. When Mrs. Katz finally dies, they say Kaddish at her grave where the stone reads that she was their very own and dearest bubbe.

Highly recommended!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Mrs. Katz and Tush, December 25, 2010
A Kid's Review
This is one of the most heartwarming books I have ever read! I bought it for my kids when they were little, and to this day (they are in their 20's), it never fails to make us laugh and cry! The juxtaposition of old Jewish lady, young black boy, and adorable kitten is enough to make for a great story as is, but add to that the fact that the little boy and old woman teach each other some very important life lessons. I could never get through the end of the story without weeping then, and I still can't! The illustrations are wonderful, too.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Diversity in its finest, March 5, 2003
By 
"ajenning22" (South Carolina, United States) - See all my reviews
Ms. Katz and Tush is an excellent choice for educators and parents to use when explaining diversity.
In the book, a young boy is introduced to an elderly jewish woman through his mother. The boy develops a bond with the elderly lady, and the two are friends forever.
This book enables children to develop an understanding about life in different cultures. It shows them that different is good and you can learn a lot from someone of a different culture.
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Mrs. Katz and Tush (A Bantam little rooster book)
Mrs. Katz and Tush (A Bantam little rooster book) by Patricia Polacco (Hardcover - February 10, 2009)
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