The Cats on Ben Yehuda Street

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
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. Ages 3–8. Agent: Brenda Bowen, Sanford J. Greenburger Associates. (Mar.)
Kirkus Reviews
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. (Picture book. 3-6)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780761381242
  • Publisher: Kar-Ben Publishing
  • Publication date: 3/28/2013
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 909,273
  • Product dimensions: 8.60 (w) x 10.20 (h) x 0.10 (d)

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