Mar­git: Book Two: A Bit of Love and a Bit of Luck

  • Review
By – August 6, 2012
Margit’s Cana­di­an immi­gra­tion sto­ry con­tin­ues with the arrival of her Holo­caust- sur­vivor father in Toron­to. As in the first book, the author does not shy away from this dif­fi­cult theme. While the treat­ment is gen­tle, Kac­er depicts Margit’s father as hag­gard and suf­fer­ing from night­mares, and has Cana­di­an-born char­ac­ters speak crit­i­cal­ly of the obsta­cles their gov­ern­ment has placed in the path of Jew­ish immi­grants, an unusu­al and dar­ing approach in children’s series fic­tion. The over­all tone of the book is light, even for­mu­la­ic in a sat­is­fy­ing way, but these touch­es of real­i­ty raise the book above the usu­al lev­el of mere series fic­tion. A sec­ondary theme of Margit’s school prob­lems pro­vides dra­mat­ic ten­sion while show­cas­ing anoth­er his­tor­i­cal trend: the strong belief in edu­ca­tion of immi­grants in gen­er­al and Jews in par­tic­u­lar. The Cana­di­an set­ting and Toron­ton­ian place names will make the sto­ry cozi­ly famil­iar to Cana­di­an read­ers and pleas­ant­ly exot­ic to oth­ers, but the sto­ry­line is uni­ver­sal and can be enjoyed by any Eng­lish-speak­ing read­er. While Mar­git men­tions attend­ing syn­a­gogue, the fam­i­ly does not engage in any Jew­ish activ­i­ties dur­ing the course of the sto­ry. How­ev­er, the char­ac­ters’ use of Yid­dish, their expe­ri­ences, and their val­ues are all obvi­ous­ly Jew­ish, and the book does a fine job of depict­ing a typ­i­cal slice of Jew­ish life in post-war North Amer­i­ca. A good choice (along with Book One) for libraries serv­ing younger ele­men­tary school chil­dren. Grades 2 – 4.
Hei­di Estrin is librar­i­an for the Feld­man Chil­dren’s Library at Con­gre­ga­tion B’nai Israel in Boca Raton, FL. She is a past chair of the Syd­ney Tay­lor Book Award Com­mit­tee for the Asso­ci­a­tion of Jew­ish Libraries.

Discussion Questions