K'tonton's Yom Kippur Kitten

by Sadie Rose Weilerstein

Other authorsJoe Boddy (Illustrator)
Book, 1995



Call number

J 501 WEI




Philadelphia, Pa. ; Jerusalem : Jewish Publication Society, 1995.


After allowing a small kitten to take the blame for something he did, K'tonton, a thumb-sized young boy, feels guilty when he goes to services at the synagogue on Yom Kippur.

User reviews

LibraryThing member AbigailAdams26
When a little gray and white kitten comes to the door on the day after Rosh Hashanah, K'tonton, a little Jewish boy no bigger than a thumb, asks his mother to give it some milk. Although she warns that this will bring the kitten back again, she does indeed feed it, and sure enough the kitten begins
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to return. Then K'tonton accidentally knocks over some honey and lets the kitten take the blame, leading his mother to shoo the feline visitor away and refuse to feed it, the next time it comes by. Consumed with guilt, the little thumbling attends Yom Kippur services, praying with the rest of the congregants. But always, at the back of his mind, is the awareness that repentance of wrongdoing is not enough: he must makes amends to the one he wronged...

K'tonton, whose name, meaning "very, very small," comes from the Hebrew word קטן ("k'tan," AKA "small"), is a character who first appeared in 1930, in the pages of the Jewish Women's League Outlook magazine. In 1935 Weilerstein published The Adventures of K'tonton, which contained multiple stories about this character, many of them featuring Jewish holidays. K'tonton's Yom Kippur Kitten appeared in that collection, where it was entitled How K'tonton Was Forgiven on Yom Kippur. Here, in this 1995 publication, it is presented as a picture-book, with artwork by Joe Boddy, who also illustrated K'tonton's Sukkot Adventure. The story itself is engaging, presenting the central theme of Yom Kippur - the repentance of wrong-doing, and the seeking of forgiveness through restitution - in an appealing, child-friendly way. I own a lovely vintage copy of the K'tonton collection, which I ran across in a used bookstore many years ago, and have always enjoyed the stories, so I knew going in that I would appreciate the text here. I was curious however, to see how I would like Boddy's accompanying artwork, done in black and white in what looks like pencil. For the most part I enjoyed it, although I wouldn't say it was the equal of Jeannette Berkowitz's illustrations, in The Adventures of K'tonton, which are truly charming. Although I would recommend K'tonton's Yom Kippur Kitten to readers seeking children's stories about Yom Kippur, I do think that if they can access the larger collection of K'tonton stories, that is to be preferred. Tastes vary, of course, and my preference is aesthetic, based upon the artwork rather than the text, so take that as you will.
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