Friday 30 March 2012

Mrs Katz and Tush

Mrs Katz and Tush by Patricia Polacco is a Five in a Row book. One I had hesitated about but actually worked amazingly well. It is the story of an elderly widowed Jewish lady who is befriended by a young African American boy. There are some interesting and complex themes-loneliness, keeping the Passover and Jewish celebrations, immigration and slavery.

Mrs Katz originally came from Poland so we identified this and the USA on the map. Mrs Katz was an immigrant, we talked a little about this and where our family originated. Now, our family seems to have stuck to this corner of Europe for generations so this wasn't as global as it could be for some families but we were able to map relevant countries on a map of Europe. The reasons for immigration were also interesting: work, religious persecution and to avoid family ire about a marriage.
The Passover is integral to the story so we read about this from Exodus and also talked about how the Lord Jesus was crucified at Passover.

Other cultures
We watched a video about keeping the Passover and made a paper representation of a Passover seder. We made our own unleavened bread and found out that this had to be made within 18 minutes of adding liquid to flour to stop any possible fermentation. We didn't time ours!
This is the uncooked bread which is rolled very thin

and the cooked version which tasted much better than I expected. Most of it had been eaten by the time I was able to get a picture.

We made some conventional bread rolls so that we could see the function of yeast.

Mrs Katz's cat is integral to the story so Miss Belle made a "Lost cat" poster and dictated and illustrated a story about cats.

This book has plenty of texture and pattern on Mrs Katz's clothes. The children made textured pictures
although my favourite picture was completely of Miss Belle's own devising but also around texture using a box, paint and lots of glitter.
I've found it quite difficult to predict which Five in a Row books will work well. Some that I have had real concerns about have worked really well. I was worried that the themes in this book would be too complex-we only touched on them but this didn't seem to be a problem.  This has been a good row.


  1. Great activities! I have this book but thought it would be too complex for my 4 year old--- I'll have to save it for Easter time next year because of the Passover theme!

  2. I'm still reading blogs and hope to catch up with all who inspire me soon. Your book suggestions and activities help a grandma of two. :-) Blessings and a very joyful Resurrection Sunday to you!

  3. Lovely to hear from you Petra. Hope you have a happy Resurrection Sunday too.