Some stories just make you smile. Many of these stories are written and illustrated by Patricia Polacco, who has a knack for delightful tales of warmth and laughter with the occasional sentimental touch that can tug on a reader’s heartstrings. And now, here she brings readers yet another enjoyable children’s book with a cozy feel and plenty to learn.
Mrs. Katz is Larnel’s next door neighbor. He knows she’s a nice old lady, but that’s about it. But one day he discovers a stray kitten and wants to help it. He asks Mrs. Katz, and she agrees as long as Larnel promises to help take care of the kitten. She names it Tush, and Larnel sticks to his promise, visiting her each and every day to help take care of the little cat. During his time with her, Larnel learns many fascinating things about his elderly neighbor and she has someone to talk to. She tells him about coming to America all the way from Poland. She recounts stories of her beloved husband. She tells Larnel about her Jewish culture and the things that have happened to her people throughout the years and all the tough times. Larnel is awed by all that his neighbor has been through and how closely it matches his own heritage.
Polacco loves to bring together different cultures, teaching readers not only about cultural differences and similarities – all of which make them special – but also delivering history lessons through captivating tales. Mrs. Katz and Tush once again puts together African American heritage and the Jewish culture and all their past histories. Readers can also see the bond that even youngsters can have with the elderly and all that they can share together. Both adults and kids have enjoyed this story and all that it offers them. Polacco’s simple yet detailed illustrations help animate this story, making it all the more realistic, from the wrinkles in Mrs. Katz’s face to Tush’s innocent kitty face.
With so much to learn from this book, parents will be happy to read it to kids. And even if kids don’t pick up on the lesson, they’ll still have a good time with a tale about two happy people and an adorable kitten.