In this companion book to The Doll Shop Downstairs (2009), Anna learns the joys and challenges of adding a same-age cousin to her family.
Though the sisters—9-year-old Trudie, 11-year-old Anna and new teenager Sophie—are growing up and taking on new challenges, nothing can really prepare them for the arrival of their cousin Tania from Russia. Tania’s mother has been hired as a maid, and the job does not include lodging for Tania, so Anna’s cousin will live with them for about a year, until her mother can save money for her own passage to New York City. The girls are nervous and excited about Tania’s arrival. How will she learn English? Where will she go to school? Will there be enough room? Besides waiting for their cousin, the three girls worry about the mistreated cats next door. Learning to care for the injured kitten Plucky, even when Papa absolutely will not let it live in the house, allows the girls to better understand the silent and sad Tania and eventually is the key that opens her up to her new family. Filled with references to Jewish traditions and the rich history of tenement life in New York City, these fully realized characters could be best friends with the girls from Sydney Taylor’s All-of-a-Kind Family.
A quiet treasure. (Historical fiction. 8-12)