Review: Rifka Takes a Bow by Rebecca Rosenberg Perlov

rifka takes a bow

Rifka Takes a Bow by Betty Rosenberg Perlov, illustrated by Cosei Kawa

Rifka’s parents are actors in the Yiddish theater community, they work at The Grand and perform regularly.  So Rifka has grown up behind the stage, seeing them transform into different characters.  Sometimes they are so different, she isn’t really sure they are the same person.  When she goes to work with them, she gets to ride the subway and have a snack at the Automat.  She gets to look behind the stage and discover all of the illusions that go into doing theater.  Then one day, Rifka is climbing a set of stairs behind the stage and accidentally steps out during a performance!  What is a girl with acting in her blood going to do?

Written by a woman who herself grew up in the Yiddish Theater where her parents worked, this book captures the wonder of that lifestyle for a small child.  Perlov also shows us the intimate details of that world with the tricks of the stage, the joy of viewing a performance from the wings, and the obvious charm of having parents who are theater people.  This is a beautiful look at a world that has disappeared with the times.

Kawa’s artwork is very unique.  It has a wonderful modern feel thanks to the interesting proportions of the heads and bodies of the characters.  Perhaps the best touch are the little objects that dance in the air.  Whenever people are performing or communicating, they are there and flowing between them.  They offer a sense of the flow of this family and the flow that happens with the audience as well.

A joy to read, this book truly is a look at a lost world from the perspective of someone who actually lived it.  Appropriate for ages 5-7.

Reviewed from library copy.

This Week’s Tweets and Pins

Here are the links I shared on my Twitter and Pinterest accounts this week that you might find interesting:


The 15 Greatest Kid Detectives | Jordan B. Nielsen #kidlit

Best Old fashioned Children’s Books Set on a Farm : PragmaticMom #kidlit

bookshelves of doom: Readalikes: Percy Jackson. #kidlit

#CallingCaldecott: How to read a picture book in 9 easy steps. Awesome and hilarious.

‘Dear Dumb Diary’ author announces new movie | Observer and Eccentric Newspapers and Hometown Weeklies

Edward Carey’s top 10 writer/illustrators | Children’s books #kidlit

Five questions for David Wiesner – The Horn Book #kidlit

My Favorite Children’s Books | Cynthia Voigt #kidlit


E-readers: the best way to get the world’s children reading | Technology | The Observer #ebooks #reading

Expanding Privacy Legislation to Include Ebooks | American Libraries Magazine #privacy #ebooks

New Birmingham Library Atrium, 2013. At 31,000 sqm it is the largest public library in Europe. The ten-level library will share with the Birmingham Repertory Theatre a spacious entrance and foyer as well as a flexible studio theatre seating 300 people. The library houses world-class collections of archives, photography and rare books. WoW!


BiblioTech Digital Library Opens this Week #libraries

The Cost of Censorship in Libraries: 10 Years Under the Children’s Internet Protection Act | EFF … #libraries

MAKE | A Librarian’s Guide to Boosting the Maker Movement #libraries

Morrison’s ‘Bluest Eye’ Joins Wide Range of Books Challenged in Alabama Schools | School Library Journal

RT @meghandrrns Guys Netflix for books is already a real thing, it is called a library, and you would not believe the low low monthly price, okay, bye.

RT @theREALwikiman – I want to hold up a sign that says LIBRARIANS: Google is absolutely fine for 99% of things. Find other ways to be useful.

Talking about Tablets: Lawrence Public Library (KS) #libraries

Teen Read Week – Seek the Unknown @ your library! Teen Read Week, Oct. 13-19 #yalit #libraries

Yup. One after another.


15 Fabulous Bookish Pinterest Boards #books #reading

40 Hidden Artworks Painted on the Edges of Books «TwistedSifter #books

Broader, Better Literary Conversations | The Nation #diversity #books #authors

Old English Demonstrated By British College Students Using Famous Movie Scenes

The U.S. Illiteracy Rate Hasn’t Changed In 10 Years #literacy


Google is preparing for screenless computers – Quartz

N.S.A. Able to Foil Basic Safeguards of Privacy on Web #privacy


Beautiful Creatures Authors to Write Spinoff Series #yalit

Book Trade Announcements – David Almond – One In A Million For Hodder Children’s Books #kidlit #yalit

Ellen Hopkins talks ‘Smoke’, the much-anticipated sequel to ‘Burned’ | Shelf Life #yalit

I can’t think of a better read to start your day or to take a break than the chat between @CBethM and @JoKnowles …

Interview: Gene Yang Talks Boxers & Saints | GeekDad #yalit

Librarians Love: Books with Girls Passing as Boys | The Hub … #yalit

Real girls – The Horn Book #yalit

Unpacking why adults read young adult fiction – Malinda Lo #yalit

YA Authors Who Have Also Been Behind Your TV Screens #yalit

Chaos Walking – The Movie


Patrick Ness fans have even more to celebrate than his new book (which is amazing).  The Wrap says that Robert Zemeckis is in negotiations to direct a film version of Chaos Walking for Lionsgate studios. 

Ness wrote the Chaos Walking trilogy in such a cinematic way that it should come as no surprise that it has been optioned for a movie.  His writing is stellar and makes the entire world appear before your eyes.  Getting a director like Zemeckis would make this even more of a contender to be a success following Hunger Games.

Thanks to Book Riot for the heads up.