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The Rabbi's Cat
by Joann Sfar

Overview - When the rabbi's cat wins the gift of speech by swallowing a parakeet, he uses it both to tell lies (that he didn't eat the parakeet, for example) and to tell his own story. But now that he's lied, the rabbi forbids him from talking to his daughter, Zlabya, and vows to educate him in the Torah.  Read more...

 
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More About The Rabbi's Cat by Joann Sfar
 
 
 
Overview
When the rabbi's cat wins the gift of speech by swallowing a parakeet, he uses it both to tell lies (that he didn't eat the parakeet, for example) and to tell his own story. But now that he's lied, the rabbi forbids him from talking to his daughter, Zlabya, and vows to educate him in the Torah. For his part, the cat wants to study Kabbalah and he wants a bar mitzvah. But the question of whether a feline can be Jewish must first be intensely debated by the cat and his master. When Zlabya falls in love with a dashing young rabbi, both are crestfallen and jealous, but the journey to meet the young man's secular family in Paris provides additional opportunities for the rabbi and his cat to discuss both the important and petty details of life. Vibrant with the colors, textures, and feeling of a lost world (one where Jews and Arabs easily co-existed) "The Rabbi's Cat is populated with wholly believable and endearing people and one truly unforgettable cat.

 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9780375422812
  • ISBN-10: 0375422811
  • Publisher: Pantheon Books
  • Publish Date: August 2005
  • Page Count: 142

Series: Rabbis Cat

Related Categories

Books > Comics & Graphic Novels > General

 
BookPage Reviews

French twist

Existing in a darkly hilarious universe all its own, The Rabbi's Cat (Pantheon, $21.95, 142 pages, ISBN 0375422811), by acclaimed French artist Joann Sfar, combines whimsical drawings, forbidden romance and searching questions about the nature of faith. The story is narrated by a nameless cat who belongs to an Algerian rabbi in the 1930s. When the cat eats the rabbi's obnoxiously squawking parrot, he gains the power of speech—temporarily, but long enough to find an impetuous joy in telling lies and challenging his master's long-held beliefs. Speech enables the cat to question the tenets of Judaism, even as he's arguing for his right to have a Bar Mitzvah and study the kabbalah. He and the rabbi eventually accompany the rabbi's beautiful daughter, Zlabya, to Paris on her honeymoon after she marries into the wealthy family of a sophisticated French rabbi. The artwork is as rich and lovely as the story, full of squiggly lines, tapestried walls, cobbled alleyways, opulent costumes and palpably warm lighting. Both adults and older kids will find the book charming and thought-provoking.

Becky Ohlsen keeps her comics collection in Portland, Oregon.

 
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