Rifka Takes a Bow

Rifka Takes a Bow

5.0 1
by Betty Rosenberg Perlov, Cosei Kawa

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A slice of immigrant life on New York's Second Avenue.See more details below

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A slice of immigrant life on New York's Second Avenue.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Elizabeth Fronk
Rifka's parents act in the Yiddish Theater; sometimes Rifka goes with them. Rifka enjoys watching her parents transform themselves into other people. Rifka goes with her father under the stage to view the props. One day, as Rifka views the stage, it is set up like the outside of a house. She gets tired of waiting; suddenly she finds herself on stage with other actors pointing at her. Her papa sees her and calls to her. An audience member wants her to say something. She responds with "Piff-Paff" and receives much applause. Rifka sees herself on the stage when she grows up. This first-hand account comes from a true story of the author who is now in her 90s. Unfortunately while the illustrations are visually interesting—very angular and modern—they do not easily convey any sense of the time period. The illustrations' starkness also does not provide much context for any reader unaware of early New York theater. First and second graders may not understand about the time period and may have a hard time staying interested. Young thespians may enjoy Rifka and her impromptu stage appearance. Reviewer: Elizabeth Fronk
Kirkus Reviews
Rifka accidentally finds herself onstage in a Yiddish theater production and speaks her first lines as an actress: "Piff-Paff! Not to worry." The Yiddish theater was a vibrant part of immigrant life in New York in the first part of the 20th century. Rifka's parents are actors who introduce her to the magical world of that theater. She is especially impressed with the way in which her parents can take on the personae of the characters they play, with just a bit of makeup, some props and costumes, and changes in body language. The surrounding elements of the city are also part of the fun. They travel on the subway with its noise and diversity. They eat at the Automat, putting in their nickels and taking out the food. Perlov makes it all come alive, employing a conversational syntax that speaks directly to readers. It is a memoir told with love and nostalgia, for it is her own story, told from a distance of nine decades. Kawa's illustrations are as magical as any theater experience. She employs a variety of media to turn real places and events into fantasy landscapes from several perspectives, in dreamlike images that are somewhat reminiscent of Chagall. Look closely and there are tiny shapes and designs floating through the larger pictures. Unusual and unabashedly charming. (afterword) (Picture book. 5-9)

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Product Details

Lerner Publishing Group
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
9.40(w) x 11.10(h) x 0.40(d)
Age Range:
5 - 8 Years

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