Mrs. Kaput­nik’s Pool Hall and Mat­zo Ball Emporium

  • Review
By – October 10, 2011
In a very dif­fer­ent immi­grant tale, Mrs. Kapustin and her two chil­dren, Moshe and Shoshi, come to New York from Rus­sia to have a bet­ter life. The twist in this tale is that the chil­dren bring along a lit­tle drag­on they found before they left. After a dif­fi­cult voy­age across the ocean, the small fam­i­ly finds noth­ing but trou­ble when they land at Ellis Island. Their name is changed, like many immi­grants. Now known as the Kaput­niks, they trav­el into the city to find that Papa, who came to Amer­i­ca sev­er­al years before, has dis­ap­peared, and the rel­a­tives who were sup­posed to have a thriv­ing restau­rant, cheat them out of their small sav­ings and leave the dying busi­ness to them. Mrs. Kaput­nik and the chil­dren are very resource­ful and use the drag­on to entice peo­ple into their shop. The local gang­ster demands pro­tec­tion mon­ey, but the Kaput­niks find a way to keep him away. As it turns out, this gang­ster, Nick the Stick,” is key to help­ing them find out what hap­pened to their Papa. Although immi­grant sto­ries are almost as plen­ti­ful as Holo­caust tales, this nov­el uses fan­ta­sy devices such as the drag­on and the mys­te­ri­ous dis­ap­pear­ance of Mr. Kapustin, to height­en the sus­pense and give the read­er an excit­ing and unusu­al tale. Grades 3 – 5.
Susan Dubin was the first librar­i­an hon­ored with a Milken Fam­i­ly Foun­da­tion Jew­ish Edu­ca­tor Award. She is the owner/​director of Off-the-Shelf Library Ser­vices and library instruc­tion­al con­sul­tant at Val­ley Beth Shalom Day School in Enci­no, CA.

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