Mooshka: A Quilt Story

( 4 )

Overview

Karla loves Mooshka, a quilt composed of scraps of fabric from many members of Karla's family. But Mooshka is more than a quilt—it can talk, comforting Karla at bedtime. Each square or "schnitz," tells her stories of her ancestors and their lives. When new baby sister Hannah arrives, Karla's routine is upset and Mooshka falls silent. Only when Karla shares Mooshka with her sister does the quilt begin to speak again and tell Hannah stories of Karla's early life.

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Overview

Karla loves Mooshka, a quilt composed of scraps of fabric from many members of Karla's family. But Mooshka is more than a quilt—it can talk, comforting Karla at bedtime. Each square or "schnitz," tells her stories of her ancestors and their lives. When new baby sister Hannah arrives, Karla's routine is upset and Mooshka falls silent. Only when Karla shares Mooshka with her sister does the quilt begin to speak again and tell Hannah stories of Karla's early life.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
“Mooshka” is the name that Karla has for her beloved patchwork quilt. Whenever she needs comforting, she touches one of the patches and imagines that it tells her a story of her family. “When your mother was just your age, she thought she could fly,” says the red patch. “She made me into a cape and jumped out of the cherry tree.” But even Mooshka can’t comfort Karla when a new baby sister arrives—until Karla realizes that, as a big sister, the stories and the gifts of a storyteller reside within her. Drawing on the vibrant colors, tableau compositions, and cheery graphic motifs of pan-European folk art, illustrator Paschkis (Pablo Neruda: Poet of the People), making her debut as an author, elevates her story beyond a familiar tale of displacement anxiety. The elaborately rendered graphic elements and borders aren’t just for aesthetics; attentive readers will note that they act as a kind of emotional barometer for Karla, vanishing when she feels threatened and returning once she willingly steps into her role as a wise older sibling. Ages 4–8. Agent: Linda Pratt, Wernick & Pratt Agency. (Mar.)
Children's Literature - Judy Silverman
Mooshka is the name that Karla has given to her patchwork quilt. Mooshka keeps Karla warm in the winter, and if nightmares come to frighten her, than just knowing that Mooshka is there comforts her. But the best thing about Mooshka is that it speaks. Karla's grandmother had made the quilt "with scraps of old fabric that she called schnitz," and as she stitched she told Karla stories. If Karla couldn't sleep, she would put her hand on a schnitz—and it would tell her its own story. Each one had its own way of speaking, from the "cottony" yellow that was once a tablecloth to the "sturdy" blue that Grandpa Will had worn around his neck. One day "a little white crib was moved into Karla's room. Hannah was in the crib." That night Mooshka didn't say anything although Karla could think of words like "unfair," "stinky," "My room"—lots of words. The crisis comes one night when Hannah started crying and simply couldn't stop. Karla got out of bed and carried Mooshka over to the crib. She hoisted it up and draped it over Hannah—and Mooshka said "sister." This is one of the most beautiful books I've ever seen. Pieces of the quilt cover the pages, leaving just enough room to write the story. Highly recommended. Reviewer: Judy Silverman
School Library Journal
Gr 2—Karla has the most beautiful quilt shaped from a variety of patches that have been added to it over the years. Each piece tells a story, and the child hears the stories as she touches each one. Later, Karla's baby sister, Hannah, arrives and the house is turned upside down with the demands of a new baby. Her crib is placed in Karla's room and the infant's cries upset the older child terribly. She reaches for the quilt but no longer finds it comforting, and she can no longer hear the stories it holds. It is only when she gives the quilt to Hannah that the crying stops. Karla eagerly assumes the role of big sister and begins sharing the stories from the quilt with her sibling. While the story is a bit heavy-handed and contrived, the artwork shines. Paschkis's true gift is her art, and the folkloric quilt that graces the endpapers and continues throughout is as charming and warm as a quilt can be. The ink and gouache illustrations are quintessentially Paschkis and are worth the read just to look at the pictures. Other quilt books with more cohesive story lines are Patricia Polacco's The Keeping Quilt (S & S, 1988) and Valerie Flournoy's The Patchwork Quilt (Dial, 1995).—Joan Kindig, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA
Kirkus Reviews
Like the beautiful quilt showcased on glowing endpapers and throughout this tale, a preschooler's active imagination (probably) and an exciting (or not) addition are pieced together with family stories to create a new-baby/favorite-blanket story that's likely to become an old favorite. Karla loves her quilt, which she calls Mooshka. Mooshka comforts her on cold and scary nights and, at least according to Karla, can talk. Whether Mooshka is actually magical is left open to interpretation. It's possible, after all, that the vignettes of earlier activities (mom's jump from a cherry tree or an aunt's turn as a fortune-teller) are actually memories based on conversations with Karla's grandmother as she sewed the quilt and shared family history. And maybe Mooshka's fondness for pancakes simply reflects Karla's early-morning cravings. Bordered in rectangles and triangles of vibrant patterns in a kaleidoscope of colors, both text and illustrations carry Paschkis' plot. Indeed, young listeners may be as disconcerted as Karla at the appearance of a baby sister, but careful examination of an earlier picture reveals a hint of things to come. After initial, if mild, hostility, Karla finds it in her heart to comfort little Hannah by sharing both Mooshka and the story of her own contribution. Vivid artwork, a lively, endearing heroine and a warm, loving look at a pivotal experience give this one classic potential. (Picture book. 3-6)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781561456208
  • Publisher: Peachtree Publishers, Ltd.
  • Publication date: 3/1/2012
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 352,171
  • Age range: 4 - 7 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.60 (w) x 11.10 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 4 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 30, 2013

    Highly recommend!

    A touching story for children offering comfort.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 17, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Mooshka, A Quilt Story

    Karla has a quilt she calls Mooshka. She is very attached to Mooshka. Mooshka is more like a friend to her. It tells her stories and comforts her. The stories consist of the memories from each patch of fabric telling a story of its' own.

    I don't want to reveal to much about Mooshka for fear of spoiling the story. But I will say things begin to change once Karla get's a new baby sister. For some reason Mooshka will not talk to Karla since her baby sister arrived.

    This is a darling story about family history, old memories, growing up, love and sharing.

    The illustrations are beyond amazing and will definitely stimulate any child's imagination.

    More than likely when children hear or read this story they will want a quilt like Mooshka.
    Hey, I even want one.

    I most definitely recommend this book.

    Disclosure:
    I received a free copy of this book from Peachtree Publishers for review. I was in no way compensated for this review it is my own opinion.

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  • Posted April 1, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Mooshka, A Quilt Story By Julie Paschkis ISBN: 9781561456208


    Mooshka, A Quilt Story By Julie Paschkis
    ISBN: 9781561456208
    I was first attracted to this book because of the word Quilt. The cover is very pretty and I know it can be done by quilting various fabrics together to tell a story.
    Karla calls her favorite quilt, Mooshka.
    It protected her from scary things. Also the quilt would talk to her: sweet dreams, it said, every night.
    This quilt, made by her grandmother stitched it, told her of what the squares meant with a story. Precious stories she could rest her head on and listen to the quilt tell her what the square was about.
    One day a new crib was moved in and her new baby sister was in the same room as her. The quilt stopped talking.
    Karla then retells all the squares stories to her sister.

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  • Posted February 29, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Mooshka Helps Pass on Family Stories and Brings Two Sisters Together

    Karla’s beloved quilt, named Mooshka, is unlike any other quilt, and not only because the material and design are unique. Mooshka has the ability to talk and tells Karla stories on the nights Karla cannot sleep. All Karla needs to do is place a hand on a patch, or schnitz, and the quilt becomes a storyteller. Karla’s grandmother handpicked each schnitz and told Karla the story behind each as she lovingly pieced Mooshka together. These are the stories that Mooshka recites to Karla late at night.

    One day, Karla’s baby sister Hannah moves into Karla’s bedroom. Karla does not seem happy sharing her room, voicing this to Mooshka when the quilt refuses to retell a schnitz story. Mooshka no longer says sweet dreams. One night Hannah, like all babies, begins a crying jag that Karla cannot help but hear. Karla takes Mooshka to the crib hoping the quilt will comfort her baby sister.

    I initially read this on a Kindle, which I do not recommended. Many of the illustrations did not display properly and some of the text was out-of-order. The actual print book is excellent. The story is a new way to bring two sisters together when one is not too happy about the other intruding her space. I love this story. Having shared a bedroom with two older sisters, I know how space can be a precious commodity.

    The illustrations, also by the author, are bright and cheery. The two girls, Karla and Hannah are adorable. Each page is bright and cheerful, just like Mooshka and her many colors and patterns. The reason for Mooshka becoming silent is a little muddy. Is it because she can only recite stories to Karla or, because it seems, Karla does not want to share her bedroom with Hannah? In any case, a silent Mooshka allows Karla time to consider her sister's needs.

    Mooshka is a quilt made of memories with a little magic thrown in. Karla’s grandmother calls each piece a schnitz. A schnitz is a slice or a cut. The schnitz in Mooshka are slices of family history kept alive by passing down the story of each fabric to Karla and then to Hannah. Being equally curious about the name Mooshka, I looked it up in the Urban Dictionary. Mooshka has two definitions, both of which apply to this story. The first definition states mooshka is a term of endearment. The second definition is a small being that is both sweet and adorable. Mooshka seems to be a term a grandmother would call Karla, not the quilt, but it works well for the story.

    Mooshka, A Quilt Story is a wonderful bedtime read that will interest young children, especially little girls. However, be careful. If your child reads this story and owns a quit, your little mooshka will want to know the story of each and every schnitz before agreeing to lights out.

    Note: book received courtesy of the publisher, Peachtree Publishers.

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