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

UPDATE TIME: 2018-04-13 
Review Score: 5 out of 5 star From 10 user ratings

" A wonderful book, made even more vivid by the authors lecture. " said.

" Great Holocaust biography for younger students. " said.

" Excellent historical information book about a young Czech Jewish girl who is forced to live in a Nazi labor camp called Terezin during WWII. This is a heart felt story about survival through friends, music, art, and hope. Susan GOldman Rubin provides the information in an engaging expository style that captivates readers. In addition, the illustrations and photographs enhance the experience. " said.

"5th booktalk
If you check out this short biography, The Cat with the Yellow Star, I recommend you also take home this picture book version of the Brundibar play illustrated by one of my favorite humans, Maurice Sendak. It’s a quick read, and will really enhance what you read in the story of the Cat with the Yellow Star. In fact, the picture I chose for this book is from the picture book version.

When I first picked up this book to read it for this booktalk, I’ll admit it was because I thought it would be about a cat. (For those of you who don’t know, I adore cats). But then I read it, and learned that it’s connected to something else I love – Maurice Sendak. But really, it’s the true story of a girl in the Terezin concentration camp, and how the children there used a play – called Brundibar – to deflect the hardships of living in the concentration camp.
" said.

" What better way to try to understand the torcher of the holocaust then reading a book from an actual survivor? This book is in chapter book format and written by someone who spent countless hours interviewing a lady named Ann and her life imprisoned by the Nazis. I like that this book came from a voice of first person experience. I liked how the book was more of a story told in chronological order as oppose to over the top unnecessary detail as seen in most text books. The short paragraphs made this book easy to read and knowing that the story came from a survivor insured me that this book could not be bias because it is the story of someone’s actual life experiences, and someone’s experiences can’t be wrong. I also enjoyed the pictures in the book and how most of them were actual photographs from smuggled in cameras in the camps. All the elements of this book made me feel like I have a better understanding of the holocaust and what people had to go though at this time." said.

"Ela Stein and her sister Ilona are among the many children interned at Terezin, the Nazi concentration camp in Czechoslavakia. One of the ways the desperate but creative prisoners managed to survive was through the creation of a children's choir. A man named Gideon Klein composed a children' opera called _Brundibar_, a subtle parable of resistance to the Nazi regime, first performed at a Prague orphanage. The best singers among the children at Terezin participated in the production, directed by Rudi Freudenfeld and conducted by opera conductor Rafi Schachter. The weekly performances helped sustain the children and in fact the entire community until Terezin was liberated in 1945. Many teachers will appreciate a holocaust story which, while not ignoring the danger and the privation the people suffered, has a positive outlook. There is a list of resources, a reference list, and and index." said.

"From Booklist

Gr. 4-7. With sepia-tone family photographs and children's full-color artwork on every page, this poignant biography of a Holocaust survivor tells middle-grade readers what happened without concealment or exploitation. In 1942, at age 11, Ela Weissberger was transported with her Czech family to the Nazi concentration camp Terezin. She survived, and now, based on extensive personal interviews, Rubin tells Weissberger's story of being a Jewish child in that camp, including how the young prisoners rehearsed and performed the opera Brundibar. There's a hopeful message about the power of music, art, friends, and teachers, but the account never denies the fact that transports were always leaving for the death camps and some of the prisoners did not survive. The sources are part of the story, and individuals who want to learn more will welcome both the extensive notes and the lists of further resources.
" said.

"The Cat with the Yellow Star: Coming of Age in Terezin is set up like a picture book, but is written for a slightly older audience. This beautiful books tells the story of Ela Weissberger. Ela and her family were transported from their home in Czechoslovakia to Terezin.

While in the camp Ela becomes part of a group of children who perform the opera Brundibar. The children perform and rehearse daily allowing them temporary escape from the horror that is their reality. Ela plays the role of the cat. Ela performed some 55 times while in camp. At the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center in Skokie, Illinois (and I'm sure in other Holocaust museums) there is footage of Ella and the rest of the children performing this opera.

This book is filled with wonderful pictures of Ela and others, but assumes a working knowledge of the Holocaust. None of the story is particularly grim or disturbing making it an excellent book to share with students as young as thrid grade.

Ela survived the war and went on to perform Brundibar as an adult with the many children's groups who have since performed the opera in memory of the victims of the Holocaust.
" said.

June 2018 New Book:

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