Coverart for item
The Resource Looking for me, Betsy R. Rosenthal

Looking for me, Betsy R. Rosenthal

Label
Looking for me
Title
Looking for me
Statement of responsibility
Betsy R. Rosenthal
Title variation
Looking for me-- in this great big family
Creator
Subject
Genre
Language
eng
Summary
In 1936 Baltimore, an eleven-year-old Jewish girl, one of twelve siblings, tries to find her place in her overcrowded family
Storyline
Review
  • Grades 4-7 Twelve-year-old Edith Paul feels somewhat lost in her enormous Depression-era family. As the fourth of 12 children, she accepts caring for her younger siblings, working until two in the morning in her father’s diner, and sleeping three to a bed. But she also wishes for things she lacks: new school clothes, alone time with her mother, and a sense of her place in the family. Spanning the 1936–37 school year, Rosenthal’s verse novel is based on anecdotes from her mother’s childhood. The poetry reads smoothly, although not all of it is lyrical. Contemporary readers may be surprised by the child-rearing practices described—spankings with a belt, receiving coal for Christmas, a boy being forced to stand outside wearing a dress—but the overall tone is one of solidarity in spite of difficulties. Luckily, Edith eventually finds her place, attending university: “I’m on my way / to being so much more / than just plain Edith / who’s number four.” Give this to fans of Natalie Kinsey-Warnock’s If Wishes Were Horses (2000). -- Weisman, Kay (Reviewed 04-15-2012) (Booklist, vol 108, number 16, p77)
  • Gr 4 – 7 — A luminous free-verse novel, based on Rosenthal's mother's Depression-era childhood in Baltimore. The fourth of 12 children, Edith Paul wrestles with figuring out her place in the family. The author's apt Russian-nesting-dolls' metaphor—"and there's always/one more inside,/sort of like/my family"—gives readers a vivid picture of Edith's struggle to maintain her individuality. Mature beyond her years, the 12-year-old describes herself for a school assignment as "the good little mother," dutifully watching over her younger siblings. Still, she longs simply to be a kid, playing stickball or double Dutch. Frustrated that her family is never invited to Seders, bar mitzvahs, and weddings, Edith is lovingly reminded by Bubby (Grandmother) Etta that with so many children, the Pauls have their own party. When heartrending loss threatens to extinguish the family's happiness, Edith finds inspiration in school and, with her teacher's encouragement, contemplates a promising future. At first, familial obligations and rigid gender roles—"'We don't have money for college,/and girls don't need to go anyways,'" says her father-threaten to derail Edith's plans. However, buoyed by her mother's and grandmother's support, Edith forges ahead. A heartening epilogue states that she was the only girl in her family to earn a college degree. Touching photos of the Paul family and a glossary clarifying Yiddish terms and Jewish traditions nicely round out the book. Rosenthal's spare writing superbly captures the emotional growth of a girl on the cusp of adolescence, despite its specific historical context.—Lalitha Nataraj, Escondido Public Library, CA --Lalitha Nataraj (Reviewed April 1, 2012) (School Library Journal, vol 58, issue 04, p174)
  • Rosenthal debuts with a slim, easily readable free-verse novel from the perspective of a girl who feels enveloped but lost in her enormous family. Eleven-year-old Edith, fourth among her parents' 12 children, feels that "[i]n my overcrowded family / I'm just another face. / I'm just plain Edith / of no special place." Old enough to care for siblings and work her parents' diner until almost two in the morning, young enough to care about a Shirley Temple doll, Edith needs a teacher's nudge to find an identity. "[T]he Depression + lots of kids = never enough money," so leaky shoes need cardboard, clothes are "hand-me-down / down / down / down / downs" and the family almost loses their house (but doesn't). Contemporary, recession-aware readers will relate to Edith's financial woes and also her realization that other people are even poorer. The author uses her mother's history of growing up Jewish in Depression-era Baltimore as a basis, describing a certain kind of American Judaism (cheating on kosher rules with crab cakes; celebrating Christmas as Jews "because here in America / we can celebrate / anything we want") and family tragedy in bare-bones verse so simple that the occasional rhyme is startling. Less flavorful than its ancestors, Barbara Cohen's The Carp in the Bathtub (1972) and Sydney Taylor's All-of-a-Kind Family series, this is still a good companion for them. (author's note, family photos, glossary) (Free verse/historical fiction. 8-12)(Kirkus Reviews, February 15, 2012)
http://library.link/vocab/ext/novelist/bookUI
10107239
Cataloging source
DLC
http://library.link/vocab/creatorName
Rosenthal, Betsy R
Dewey number
[Fic]
Index
no index present
Intended audience
1130L
Intended audience source
Lexile
Interest level
MG
LC call number
PZ7.5.R69
LC item number
Lo 2012
Literary form
fiction
http://library.link/vocab/ext/novelist/minGradeLevel
  • 4
  • 7
Reading level
4.9
http://library.link/vocab/resourcePreferred
True
Study program name
Accelerated Reader AR
http://library.link/vocab/subjectName
  • Identity (Philosophical concept)
  • Families
  • Jews
  • Novels in verse
  • Identity
  • Family life
  • Jews
  • Baltimore (Md.)
  • Baltimore (Md.)
Target audience
pre adolescent
Label
Looking for me, Betsy R. Rosenthal
Instantiates
Publication
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Control code
860369
Dimensions
21 cm
Extent
166 pages
Isbn
9780547610849
Lccn
2011017124
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
System control number
(Sirsi) i9780547610849
Label
Looking for me, Betsy R. Rosenthal
Publication
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Control code
860369
Dimensions
21 cm
Extent
166 pages
Isbn
9780547610849
Lccn
2011017124
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
System control number
(Sirsi) i9780547610849

Library Locations

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      30.4337083 -97.7730809
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