McDonough, Yona Zeldis. The Cats in the Doll Shop, illustrated by Heather Maione. Viking (Penguin), 2011. $14.99. 136 pages. Content: Language: G; Violence: G; Sexual Content: G. Anna lives in an apartment in New York with her parents and two sisters. Her parents own a doll shop and she loves to make dolls. When her mother tells her that her cousin Tania from Russia is going to live with them, she makes a special doll just for her. While Anna is waiting for Tania to arrive, she sees a cat give birth to kittens on a fire escape. A few days later they watch a man sweep the cat and her kittens off the fire escape—only Ginger Cat and one of her kittens survives. Anna’s parents have a strict rule of no pets, but Anna cares for the cats. Tania arrives and she is different than what Anna expects. She doesn’t speak English and she cries at night. Anna gives her the special doll, but it is really the cats who finally make Tania feel at home. Then Tania makes a special present for Anna. Author McDonough does a beautiful job of describing what it was like to be an immigrant at the turn of the century. She addresses the difficulties of learning a new language, culture, and custom. Best of all she does it with cats and dolls, perennial favorites of girls. The illustrations are charming and complete the overall package of this great book for a young girl.
EL-ADVISABLE. Samantha Hastings, MA, MLS.