Saturday, April 19, 2008

Passover Special: MRS. KATZ AND TUSH by Patricia Polacco

Jewish Passover begins at Sundown today. This event commemorates God delivering the Jews out of slavery in Egypt. It's called 'Passover' because the angel of death passed over the Jews whose faith compelled them to mark their doors with lamb's blood as instructed.
One our favorite children's books is MRS. KATZ AND TUSH by Patricia Polacco. It's no work at all for me to tell you all about it because I've read it a bazillion times. In fact, Ms. Polacco is one of my favorite authors of any genre.
Mrs. Katz is an old woman who lives in an apartment building. Her husband has died and they never had any children. She had immigrated with her husband from Poland, like a lot of Jews did around World War II. She's terribly lonely and is befriended by a young African American boy, Larnell, who also lives in the building. They share a special bond because both Jews and African Americans were once enslaved and brought to foreign countries. Though free, they remain in the minority.
Larnell brings a kitten to Mrs. Katz. No one else wanted the kitten because it's a scrawny, ugly little runt. But, Mrs. Katz and Larnell love the kitten. The kitten has no tail, only her bare tush, and so Mrs. Katz names her Tush. The story progresses to the end when Larnell is a grown man bringing his wife and children to visit their honorary Bubby ('Grandma.')
MRS. KATZ AND TUSH has been featured on the award-winning show, Reading Rainbow, which is hosted by LeVar Burton (best known as Commander Geordi LeForg on Star Trek: The Next Generation.) In this episode, LeVar visits his own honorary Bubby and helps her prepare a traditional Passover meal. Here is the link to the Reading Rainbow book index:
Bring MRS. KATZ AND TUSH home to the children in your life and take time to remember the struggle and joy of finding freedom on this special day.


Sara J. said...

Reading Rainbow was such an awesome show... You've brought me all sorts of nostalgia ;)

Kimber An said...

Oh, yes. We watch it every day and have for many years. I think it's been on the air since the early '80s.