Mrs. Kaputnik's Pool Hall and Matzo Ball Emporium

Mrs. Kaputnik's Pool Hall and Matzo Ball Emporium

by Rona Arato

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Treat yourself to a visit to the wackiest restaurant ever!

Ten-year-old Shoshi and her eight-year-old brother, Moshe, arrive in New York in 1898 from Russia with their mother and Snigger, the baby dragon that saved them from an attack by Cossack soldiers. Five years earlier, their father had also come to New York to make his fortune, but no one has heard from him since. Through a series of adventures and misadventures, Shoshi and Moshe use their wits to navigate through New York City's Lower East Side, making new friends and even a few foes: Salty, the seaman who helps the family smuggle Snigger through Ellis Island; Aloysius P. Thornswaddle, carnival barker extraordinaire; Dingle Hinglehoffer, pitcher for the Brooklyn Slobbers; and the mysterious Man in the Black Cape. With the help of Snigger, they set out to solve the mystery behind their father's disappearance, helping to free the Lower East Side from the tyrannical rule of gangster Nick the Stick along the way. Mrs. Kaputnik's Pool Hall and Matzo Ball Emporium is a colorful tale that blends history and fantasy with a journey of discovery, adventure, and fun.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781770492110
Publisher: Tundra
Publication date: 04/13/2010
Sold by: Random House
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 192
File size: 2 MB
Age Range: 9 - 12 Years

About the Author

RONA ARATO was born in New York and grew up in Los Angeles. Her work has appeared in magazines and newspapers in Canada and the United States. She taught elementary school in Los Angeles and Toronto, adult creative writing for the Toronto District School Board, and has conducted business writing workshops for profit and nonprofit organizations. From 1994-1998, she was an interviewer for Survivors of the Shoa, a Steven Spielberg project that recorded the histories of Holocaust survivors. Rona Arato lives in Toronto with her husband, Paul.

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Mrs. Kaputnik's Pool Hall and Matzo Ball Emporium 3.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
the1stdaughter on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This was a wonderful tale of two children and their fantastical friend, Snigger the dragon. Every bit of Mrs. Kaputnik's Pool Hall and Matzo Ball Emporium was filled with history, adventure and fun. Following their journey to the 'New World' you see how Shoshi and Moshe handle a new place and the search for their missing father along with trying to hide a very large dragon. It was a delightful and quick read that I even learned a few new things from.Shabbat_Challos"Most of my readers don't know this, but for a short time after graduating high school I was a nanny for a great Jewish family in Texas. Being born and raised in a Christian home this was quite the learning experience for me. The two children I cared for were quite young, around two and five, and each night we had to recite prayers in traditional Hebrew. I was also able to witness quite a few 'Shabbats' that occur every week for a day of rest. It was a wonderful experience for me as someone who had never had these experiences before.I bring this part of my life up because much of the book revolves around the religious beliefs of the characters, which happen to be Jewish. Rona Arato did a fabulous job of blending just the right amount of information with story to provide an entertaining and educational reading experience.Overall, I think this was definitely a treat to read. Quick, fun, with a lot of adventure and even a little bit of history behind the true events happening during the time of the book. Readers of Middle Grade fiction and kids alike will love the tale of Moshe and Shoshi and their exciting friend Snigger the dragon.
dougcornelius on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I have mixed feelings about this book.It¿s about ten-year-old Shoshi, her eight-year-old brother, Moshe, and their pet dragon Snigger as they escape the Cossacks of Russia to the streets of New York City in 1898. Kids and a dragon in a story are usually a great combination. Kids love to read about dragons.My six-year old had hard time getting into the story. I had to make us stick with reading the book for the first several chapters. Eventually, he started enjoying the story more. Once we finished, he asked me started again from the beginning. That was a big endorsement from him.I enjoyed the book much less than he did. All of the adults come across as mean, uncaring, criminal or suspected of being criminal. Even Mrs. Kaputnik, the mother of Moshe and Soshi, comes across as mostly mean and uncaring in the book.I had a big problem with the name of the dragon. It¿s too easy to drop the ¿s¿ from snigger. I think I will pronounce it with a hard ¿I¿ on the second time through.In the end, if my kids like the book it gets a positive review, even if I don¿t like it as much.
Pebblesgmc on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Mrs. Kaputnik's Pool Hall and Matzo Ball Emporium by Rona Arato introduced me to aspects of Russian/Jewish life that I had not thought of before. The kids Shoshi and Moshe face many problems. Having a Dragon can be hazardous! I had ancestors come throught Ellis Island and thier name was changed also. I liked the book, and will read it to my Grandduaghter when she is a little older.
CatheOlson on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Ten-year-old Shoshi and her younger brother Moshe, along with their mother, leave their small village in Russia to find their father who left the family 5 years earlier to make his fortune in New York City. To complicate matters further, they have a baby dragon who causes his share of trouble but ends up saving the day.The book was well written and I enjoyed the history -- traveling from Europe to New York, Ellis Island, and all the Jewish culture references . . . but I am having trouble figuring out who the audience would be for this book. The historical aspects, the subplots, and all the characters the reader needs to keep track of seem geared for older elementary age children, but the dragon and his antics seemed aimed for the early chapter book crowd. I'm not sure this book would be compelling for kids. While there were parts I liked, there were a lot of slow parts as well--especially at the beginning. I'm going to pass this on to my daughters and get their opinion, after which I'll revise this review.
DWWilkin on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I am much older then a child, so Children's books are not generally my thing at my age. The subject matter however spoke to me. My great grandfather immigrated into New York and then migrated to Wallace Idaho where he ran a Pool Hall. No Matzo Balls though... I thought I would read this to get the feel of the immigrant experience. There are parts, too few, where Ms. Arato speaks to those moments. More is spent on the childlike fantasy that evolves from her story. Names like Kaputnik and Thornswaddle go a long ways to paring down the history of the time and bringing into play a world that pre-adolescents might enjoy.That I am not enamored of that is by no means to say that the book is bad. It is hard to imagine a Matzo Ball so heavy that you could throw it and it would crash the old metal milk bottles like a side show games. The cooks in my family all make excellent ones. I think it has something to do with the shmaltz... In the end, that is what this story has some of, but not enough, shmaltz. Not enough Yiddishkite. A veneer of it, and not enough of the veneer of immigrant america to hold an adult's imagination.
paeonia on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Mrs. Kaputnik's Pool Hall and Matzo Ball Emporium feels like an uneasy combination of two stories. The first is the story of Jewish family emigrating to the United States from Russia, escaping poverty and persecution. In this story we learn about pogroms, the deplorable living conditions on board the ship taking them to America, the customs hurdles at Ellis Island and the difficulties of starting a new life. The second is a kind of comedy slapstick involving, improbably, a dragon, a rogue sailor, a detective disguised as a sideshow barker, and a losing baseball team, all with annoying silly names. The slapstick elements belittle the serious parts of the story, and are not strong enough to be totally successful. Coincidence seems to play an inordinately large role in this book. The author seems to have attempted to include too many elements for an entirely successful story.
ElizaJane on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Reason for Reading: The combination of the time period (1898) and a dragon intrigued me. I read this aloud to my 9yo.The Kapustins have immigrated to the USA because Papa has been gone for five years and has not answered any of their letters. Escaping the Cossacks and worried they arrive on Ellis Island, find the family restaurant and are told Papa left one day and didn't come back. The aunt and uncle running the place have turned it into a shambles. On their first night there, aunt and uncle steal their money leaving a note that they have taken it as payment for the restaurant, Mama can have it, they are going south. Mama must figure out a way to make a living off the restaurant but her matzo balls won't cook properly; they are more like stones. The children are trying to find Papa. The gangster Nick the Stick is making them pay protection money and they are never quite sure if their new friend Mr. Thornswaddle, circus barker extraordinaire, can be trusted. Oh, yes, and by the way they also accidentally brought a baby dragon over with them who doesn't make the situation any easier.A fun, story with lots of silly situations going on that are unrealistic. The Russian Jew immigrants bring with them a folk tale sense of the tall tale and much that happens in the story is over the top, creating some laugh out loud moments and just plain silliness. But also, the author manages to set the characters in the real world of a turn of the century Jewish neighbourhood in New York and the reader sees the immigrant experience as well as life for a child in this era of New York. The names of the characters are a lot of fun too, such as Aloysius P. Thornswaddle and Dingle Hinglehoffer and the book works well as a read aloud allowing the teller to put on both Jewish and Irish accents during some of the most fun bits.The one thing that disappointed me was the dragon; he had no charisma. While not being a main character, he was a constant throughout the plot and he did not have a personality of his own. He was very lightly sketched out but there was nothing to endear him to the reading audience. I think if he'd been given a personality his place would have felt more as one of the main characters and it would have given the story that extra bit of oomph that feels to be lacking.
mariah2 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Mrs. Kaputnik¿s Pool hall and Matzo Ball Emporium tells the story of Mrs. Kaputnik, AKA Mrs. Kapustin, and her two children, Shoshi and Moshe, as they leave Russia for America. In Russia they are in constant danger due to their Jewish faith, and on top of that they take a lot of abuse from their neighbors about the disappearance of Mr. Kaputnik when he moved to America years before. They received one letter from him after his arrival to America, and one letter only. On top of all their difficulties of relocating to America, which included a long voyage by train and steamship, making it through Ellis Island, having their name changed, and having all their money stolen, they have to figure out what to do with their dragon. This story is a good way to introduce children to some aspects of history such as the atrocities faced by the Jewish people living in Russia, and the immigrant experience in the early 1900s. Because of this, I believe it is best read by an adult to a child or children so it can be discussed. I believe the book lacked some character development, which is why I gave it three stars. Character development is important no matter who the target audience is, and unfortunately many of these characters were a bit flat. Even the fire breathing dragon was a bit flat at times. I can not see this book ever becoming a classic, but I can see it as a great tool to introduce some scary topics in a non threatening way.