No Buts, Becky!

José Pat­ter­son; Patri­cia Drew, illus.
  • Review
By – September 12, 2013
This sto­ry is set in Lon­don in an East End ten­e­ment in 1908. Becky is an eleven- year-old girl liv­ing with her father, Jacob, her broth­er, Yossie, and her grand­moth­er, called Bubbe. Her moth­er has died. They are Russ­ian Jew­ish immi­grants who escaped to Eng­land to avoid the pogroms. Bubbe has tak­en ill with arthri­tis and has trou­ble per­form­ing all the duties in the house even with the help of a wash­ing girl, Meg. Jacob decides that it is time for him to remar­ry and he con­sults a match­mak­er. Becky instant­ly dis­likes Mrs. Haffn­er, the pro­posed new moth­er,” and tries to explain why to the adults in her life. Her opin­ions are con­sid­ered the rants of a child, and each but” that Becky rais­es is dis­missed. She takes to writ­ing let­ters to her deceased moth­er as a way to allow her feel­ings to be expressed. Even­tu­al­ly, she suc­cess­ful­ly manip­u­lates the sit­u­a­tion in a way that cre­ative­ly solves all of the prob­lems. Through­out the tale, the read­er learns much about the life, cul­ture, and hard- ships of being a Russ­ian Jew in the ten­e­ments. This is a sto­ry of love, friend­ship, Judaism, and finan­cial strug­gles as well as a tale of the time­less hard­ships of being a mis­un­der­stood child. Rec­om­mend­ed for ages 9 – 11
Dro­ra Arussy, Ed.D., is an edu­ca­tion­al con­sul­tant who spe­cial­izes in inte­grat­ing Jew­ish and sec­u­lar stud­ies, the arts into edu­ca­tion, and cre­ative teach­ing for excel­lence in Jew­ish edu­ca­tion. She is the moth­er to four school-age chil­dren and has taught from pre-school through adult. Dro­ra is an adjunct pro­fes­sor of Hebrew lan­guage at Drew University.

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