Wednesday, November 22, 2006

The Cat with the Yellow Star: Coming of Age in Terezin

This short, succinct book is a chapter from the Holocaust, featuring Ela Weissberger and her life as a young teen in the Terezin concentration camp. During her stay at the camp, she and other young prisoners had the chance to learn and perform in the children's opera, Brundibar, in which Ela plays the role of the cat. The most striking part of this book is the dedication of the adults in the concentration camp toward creating some kind of normalcy for the children, despite the horrific conditions in which they lived. The story does not sugar-coat what happened during the Holocaust, but does end on a positive note with the reunion of several of the girls from the children's barracks at Terezin, as well as the resurgence of Brundibar, the children's opera. This is an excellent choice to put a face on a child of the Holocaust. In addition, the story is somewhat lighter and less disturbing than many books on the Holocaust, making it an appropriate choice for younger readers who may not be ready emotionally to handle the harsher reality of this dark side of World War II.
The Cat with the Yellow Star: Coming of Age in Terezin, by Susan Goldman Rubin with Ela Weissberger (Holiday House, 2006; 0-8234-1831-6; $16.95)

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