Early Book Review: Rifka Takes a Bow by Rebecca Rosenberg Perlov, Cosei Kawa

Rifka Takes a Bow is a picturebook written by Rebecca Rosenberg Perlov and illustrated by Cosei Kawa. It is scheduled for release on September 1 2013. Young Rifka's parents are actors in the Yiddish Theater in New York, and they often take her with them to the theater. One day Rifka wanders onto the stage and finds herself in a special role! The story is a quick glimpse of immigrant life on New York's Second Avenue and partially based on the now 96 year old author's childhood. The story is a sweet look at a time in American history that seems to have vanished.

Rifka Takes a Bow is a story that gives readers of all ages a look at a small section of New York City in the early 20th century. Most children will have no idea what an automat is until Rifka and her family use one, ion fact at this point many of the adults reading the story to children have probably never used one rather only having seen them in books and movies. The tidbits about the actor's costumes, make-up, and props will interest readers of all ages, as will Rifka's triumph at the end of the book. Kawa's artwork is a perfect compliment to the story, enhancing the feel of the story with whimsical images. The result is a wonderful story, beautiful artwork, and a look at a time and place that is fascinating even though it seems to have been forgotten by many. I really enjoyed reading the note about the Yiddish theaters of the day and the author's experiences which are included at the end of the book along with photos and playbills.

I highly recommend Rifka Takes a Bow for school and public library collections. I think it will also hold a special interest for those with interest in the theater or with a family connection to the Yiddish theaters of the early 20th century.
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