Snow days make excellent reading days. That's how I read Yona Zeldis McDonough's the Cats in the Doll Shop (Puffin 2011) book from cover to cover and recommend it to any third, fourth or fifth grader who cares about animals and is interested in life from long ago. Maybe that's too narrow. Anyone who enjoys a good story -- one with suspense, conflict, family and cats -- should love this book. Especially if they are able to sit with their own cat on their lap (in my case Merl) and read it in one sitting. Readers will root for Anna, and her immigrant cousin Tania and worry about Ginger Cat and Plucky. Readers may wonder about Plucky's leg -- while the kitten's leg appears to "fall off" in the story, more than likely the broken leg became lame and the little cat managed fine without being able to use it. Readers will undoubtedly want to report the mean mustachioed man to the authorities and testify at his animal cruelty trial. The story is set in the early 1900s. Life was much different then for people and animals. Be sure to read the timeline at the end of the story. An interesting addition to the timeline would have been the establishment of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), on April 10, 1866 in New York City by philanthropist and diplomat Henry Bergh.
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