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The Cats on Ben Yehuda Street Library Binding – January 1, 2013
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From School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2-Mr. Modiano, owner of the Tel Aviv Fish Palace, is not a fan of the cats living up and down Ben Yehuda Street. He finds them "messy, meowing, and useless." He also has no use for the felines on the cushion outside the apartment of his neighbor, Mrs. Spiegel, even though they are the recipients of his nightly gift of leftover fish. Mrs. Spiegel, however, loves little gray Ketzie with a pink collar and big white Gatito with no collar at all. But only Ketzie is allowed to sleep indoors due to a "Just One Cat" rule in their building. All this background leads to a quickly dealt with plot in which Ketzie disappears only to be found by Mr. Modiano, who then invites Gatito inside to be his very own cat, new blue collar and all. The mixed-media illustrations give more personality to the cats than the humans, though the Hebrew lettering on signs and labels is a nice touch. While the story is slight, it has a pleasing message about opening one's heart (and door) to friendship. An additional purchase for large collections.-Martha Link Yesowitch, Charlotte Mecklenburg Library, NCα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
"A pleasant cat-loving elderly woman and her grumpy neighbor, a fishmonger who does not love the feline crowd, find friendship nonetheless.
Mr. Modiano’s fish market on Ben Yehuda Street in Tel Aviv is popular with stray cats looking for discards, despite the cold welcome. 'Messy, meowing, useless cats!' he complains. Each night he returns home to find Mrs. Spiegel’s two cats, Ketzie and Gatito, outside her door. Apartment-building rules dictate 'Just One Cat,' so Gatito sleeps in the hallway at night. Mr. Modiano complains, 'Your cats bring more cats!' She invites him for tea each night, and he always refuses: 'Lo, lo, lo' (no, no, no). The fishmonger and his neighbor continue this daily ritual until Ketzie disappears, leaving Mrs. Spiegel worried sick. Mr. Modiano, despite his ailurophobia, sets out to find the missing Ketzie and returns with a newfound willingness to not only share tea, but the care of little puss Gatito. The Israeli backdrop for this sweet scenario is enhanced by the diversity of the two characters, whose names hint at both Eastern European and Mediterranean heritage. Stampler’s charming narrative deftly employs the traditional motif of three while upholding a level of suspense. Carabelli’s sunny palette and energetic perspectives add zing.
In the end, readers will join in the smiles all around."--Kirkus Reviews
"This book is a tribute to cat lovers everywhere. On Ben Yehuda Street, many cats are homeless and hungry. The owner of the fish market shoos the cats away from his doorway, at the same time, he brings his leftover fish to his neighbor so she can feed her cat. While Mrs. Spiegel attempts to thank Mr. Modiano for his generosity, he rebuffs her attempts at friendship. One day, Ketzie disappears. Mrs. Spiegel is distraught and Mr. Modiano treks off to find the missing cat. This very nicely illustrated story is an engaging tale about friendship and pets." ―Library Media Connection(Journal)
"Who lives on Ben Yehuda Street in Tel Aviv? Lots and lots of cats! Mr. Modiano, the proprietor of the Tel Aviv Fish Palace isn’t a big fan of the furry critters. But Mrs. Spiegel, who lives next door to him in his apartment building, is crazy for them. The apartment building’s one-cat rule means she can only have one feline friend living with her; still, that doesn’t prevent a second cat from hanging around nearby. And while neighborly Mr. Modiano brings Mrs. Spiegel a fresh fish to eat every day, the constant presence of the two fluffy animals lead him to turn down her daily invitation for tea. 'Lo, lo, lo,' he says politely in Hebrew; no, no no. Then Mrs. Spiegel’s cat goes missing, and Mr. Modiano’s loyalty and friendship shine through. The story is quiet and simple―and utterly charming. The illustrations, equally charming, help give a nice window into everyday, urban Israeli life. A good read-aloud choice. Recommended for ages 3-8." --Jewish Book World(Magazine)
"The Cats on Ben Yehuda Street (Kar Ben, £5.99) are a nuisance, thinks Mr Modiano. He is forever shooing them away from the Tel Aviv Fish Palace. But his neighbour, Mrs Spiegel, loves cats. She is fond of Mr Modiano, too, but he always says 'lo' (no) when she invites him for tea. Then, one day, Mrs Spiegel’s own cat goes missing ― and that changes everything. Ann Redisch Stampler’s story is simply but sweetly told, with colourful curvy cat illustrations by Francesca Carabelli."--The Jewish Chronicle(Newspaper)
"Reader alert! This reviewer is very fond of cats; so, she was ready to like this book almost sight unseen. Luckily, this whimsical picture book is a delight. Ben Yehuda Street in Tel Aviv is full of cats of every shape, size, and color but Mr. Modiano, a grumpy fishmonger, dislikes cats. However, Mrs. Spiegel, his neighbor in the apartment building, loves cats, especially her little grey cat with a pink collar. Mrs. Spiegel wants to be friends with Mr. Modiano, but he always says, 'Lo, lo, lo,' to every invitation for a cup of tea. One night, Mrs. Spiegel’s cat goes missing. Who saves the day? Mr. Modiano, of course! The book ends in a satisfying way that is sure to please children and adults alike. With its strong verbs and good humor, The Cats on Ben Yehuda Street presents a vibrant picture of life in present-day Israel. Carabelli’s illustrations in pen, color pencils, and watercolor capture the personalities of the characters, both human and feline, as well as the lively streets of Tel Aviv. Most good picture books can be read on different levels. The Cats on Ben Yehuda Street is about more than cats. It’s about friendship, helping each other, and taking a chance. Recommended for home and school libraries, and especially for cat lovers."--AJL Newsletter(Magazine)
"[This story of] neighbors becoming friends takes place in contemporary Tel Aviv. There are shades of Cynthia Rylant's Mr. Putter & Tabby books as fishmonger Mr. Modiano brings fish to Mrs. Spiegel every day, with instructions that it is for her, not for her cats, Ketzie and Gatito. She's a cat lover; he is not. Every day, Mrs. Spiegel offers tea to Mr. Modiano, who declines. Then she feeds the fish to her cats. One day, Ketzie goes missing. The story unfolds with gentle humor and the suggestion of deeper feeling behind each scene. Carabelli (A Witch in a Fix) creates expressive humans and felines in scenes of daily life―in the hall of an apartment building, on the beach, in a cafe―using pastel colors to evoke Israel's sun and sea, with splashes of primary colors on people's clothes and lips. Mr. Modiano's white hair and moustache practically have lives of their own, and the cats have extralong tails, whimsical details that emphasize character. The patterns, shading, and textures on each page offer additional visual interest in this light and charming tale."--Publishers Weekly(Journal)
"Mr. Modiano, owner of the Tel Aviv Fish Palace, is not a fan of the cats living up and down Ben Yehuda Street. He finds them 'messy, meowing, and useless.' He also has no use for the felines on the cushion outside the apartment of his neighbor, Mrs. Speigel, even though they are the recipients of his nightly gift of leftover fish. Mrs. Speigel, however, loves little gray Ketzie with a pink collar and big white Gatito with no collar at all. But only Ketzie is allowed to sleep indoors due to a 'Just One Cat' rule in their building. All this background leads to a quickly dealt with plot in which Ketzie disappears only to be found by Mr. Modiano, who then invites Gatito inside to be his very own cat, new blue collar and all. The mixed-media illustrations give more personality to the cats than the humans, though the Hebrew lettering on signs and labels is a nice touch. While the story is slight, it has a pleasing message about opening one's heart (and door) to friendship. An additional purchase for large collections." ―School Library Journal(Journal)
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Mr. Modiano did like Mrs. Spiegel and brought fish to her every night. She had Ketzie, a little grey cat with a pink collar. "This fish is fit for a queen," he declared, "not for cats." Mr. Modiano hated cats. Shoo, shoo! She'd always invite him in for tea, but "Lo, lo, lo," he would not go in. Of course as soon as Mr. Modiano went away, Mrs. Spiegel would give Ketzie and her friend, a big white cat. Gatito, some of that fish. Ketzie was a special help to Mrs. Spiegel and did all kinds of things to keep her company, but one day she did not come home. When she tried to tell Mr. Modiano, he didn't seem to care. Mr. Modiano hated cats. What was Mrs. Spiegel and Gatito going to do it Ketzie didn't come home?
This is a charming tale of the Ben Yehuda Street cats and Mr. Modiano, the cat hater. Mr. Modiano, an old curmudgeon, just couldn't see why anyone would like a cat, let alone love them. Mrs. Spiegel, on the other hand, couldn't see why anyone would hate them. This is most certainly a tale for young cat lovers, who will not only enjoy the tale, but will be entranced by the artwork and all the cats who dance their way through the pages of this book. The tale, which has a delightful twist at the end, will please both young and old alike. If you have a little one who loves animals, especially cats, this is one story that you'll be reading with them time and time again!
This book courtesy of the publisher.
Mrs. Spiegel cares for a cat with a collar, but the building has a one-cat-policy, so the other stray cat must stay outside without a collar. One day, her cat goes missing and she is distraught. Her neighbor, Mr. Modiano, whom we think is perhaps a curmudgeon, dons his motor scooter helmet and...
Will he help Mrs. Spiegel or just drive off? Will he learn to appreciate cats? Will he ever accept an invitation from her for tea? Is a Dag (fish) Man a Dog Man or a Cat Man?
Even though Mr. Modiano didn't seem to like cats he had a soft spot for taking care of them, or else he wouldn't have given his neighbor food to feed her cats. It was like they were sent into his life for a reason. This book does a good job of teaching that if cats have a collar that usually means they belong to someone. It also does a good job of explaining that cats do a good job of providing companionship for people who live by themselves, sometimes in ways that humans are not able to.
Created for children ages 3-8, grades PreK-2
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a free copy of this book from Kar-Ben Publishing. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.