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The Carp in the Bathtub

(Leah & Harry Katz #1)

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  130 ratings  ·  23 reviews
Just before Passover, Leah and Harry befriend a carp and attempt to keep their mother from turning it into her famous gefilte fish.
Paperback, 48 pages
Published March 1st 1987 by Kar-Ben Publishing (first published August 28th 1972)
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Average rating 4.11  · 
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Apr 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
Owned this as a child. I liked it. It had a carp in a bathtub. An illustration of a boy on a toilet. Nice Jewish Lower East Side story. The book is more or less a scene from the author's childhood. She recalls how her mother would buy a carp - a live carp - for the Passover gefilte fish (ochlin al shum mah?) a week or two in advance of the holiday, and it would swim in the tub until the day of the dull thud-to-the-head-with-the-club came and it was ground into the Seder appetizer.

One year she an
Susan Gottfried
Jan 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is one of my all-time favorites from my childhood. To this day, I cannot eat gefilte fish and it's all because of this book.
Naomi Kenorak
Apr 26, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: childrens, religious
An unusual story told by a woman of when she was a girl living with her parents and younger brother in a New York City apartment. The narrator's mother was renowned for her marvelous gefilte fish, which she made twice a year, for Rosh Hashanah and for Pesach. While the narrator and her brother loved the celebrations, they never ate any of their mother's gefilte fish, because the week before each holiday, their mother would buy a live fish and keep in the family bathtub, where the children would ...more
May 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kids
As a parent trying to equip my kids with both a sense of European Jewish tradition and a vegetarian worldview, this book is just the ticket. It tells a nice, usual kid-friendly story about tradition, then problematizes the matter of traditionally eating animals. It goes on to say that people we love and respect eat animals in spite of the clear problems with that -- and that you, the kid, can decide what you think about that. And then you, the kid, have to decide how to proceed yourself. It's a ...more
Apr 10, 2009 rated it it was amazing
One of the best family stories I have, a true sentimental favorite that reminds me of my grandmother and the huge steps we're capable of taking in just a generation or two.
Jun 17, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: childrens
A delightful children's book. I think I'm glad I didn't come across it until I was older, or I might never have eaten gefilte fish again, either.
Susan Grodsky
Jul 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Charming children’s story that illustrates how children feel a connection with animals and how adults force children into giving up on that compassion.

The dad’s “reasoning” — “What God put on this earth to eat, we eat” — is actually correct. That’s why we have quinoa and rice and blueberries and kale, and a thousand other fruits and vegetables and grains. Where he goes wrong is in placing his children’s pet in that same category.
Jul 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 01, 2017 rated it liked it
Just read keeping my kids company during Yom Kippur services (I had heard of this book from my childhood), and was struck by the kids' desire to save the fish but the parents' insistence on killing the various fishes in order to prepare the gefilte fish for the Jewish holiday. If this tale were told today, perhaps a different ending in support of vegetarianism or similar??
Apr 21, 2008 rated it really liked it
This charmingly illustrated book concerns the efforts of Leah and her little brother to save their Mama's annual live carp purchase from its inevitable fate -- it will end up as the family's Passover gefilte fish that the children vow never to eat. Living in Brooklyn in what appears to be the 1930s, Leah's family is lucky because they and their downstairs neighbor have their own bathrooms with a tub -- everyone else has to share. Thus, the carp can live comfortably for a week in the bathtub unti ...more
Mar 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing
OK so I was joking to my significant other Ofer how ALL my Goodreads friends have been reading something like 17 books a month & I am still lugging around a half dozen unread Economist issues & will lug a foot-high pile of NY Times backlog on vacation next week. So he said, "You should review that little book you got me for Passover from the Gefilteria." I belly-laughed, "GREAT - like reviewing those 'Have You Seen My Hat?' books read/bought while waiting at Newark airport. BRILLIANT!" (Both gre ...more
Catie Schwartz
Nov 25, 2012 rated it really liked it
In this story, Leah and Harry develop an attachment to a fish named Joe who is going to become their dinner. Together, they try to free Joe from his temporary bathtub home. This story has a very strong plot with a clear beginning, middle, and end, as well as a solid conflict. The conflict is not resolved to create the conclusion readers may hope for, but it is realistic. Although the characters are not dynamic, they are relatable because of the emotional details that the author uses.

Young reader
Phil Jensen
Sep 30, 2015 rated it really liked it
My kind of sweetness- the kids act adorably, but it is flavored with realism. In this short picture book, two Jewish kids feel bad for the carp that is destined for their mom's gefilte fish. The results are lightly humorous, and more realistic than most books in the "children befriend edible animal" genre. The evocative pen and ink illustrations add a lot of atmosphere to the story. I would suggest this book for grades Kindergarten and up. A gem.
Paul  Hankins
A mother's traditional gelfite fish becomes problematic for a sister and brother who have--within the week prior to Passover--befriended the carp they have named Joe that is swimming in their bathtub.

A neat look at tradition and memoir as it is found in picture books.
Apr 23, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: classics, jewish, kids
3.5 stars
Apr 19, 2010 rated it it was amazing
My favorite part is when they feed the fish while toileting...
Dec 21, 2010 rated it really liked it
Funny tale about a carp, 2 kids and Gefilte fish.
Apr 27, 2008 rated it really liked it
Really cute.
Andd Becker
Sep 21, 2012 rated it really liked it
This story about a carp becoming children's best friend is intriguing. The illustrations by Joan Halpern are excellent.
Miss Amanda
gr 2-3 ?? 48pgs

hist, but more a story about "saving" the carp destined to be gefilte fish and trying to keep him as a pet.
May 23, 2008 rated it really liked it
well written story of a brother and sister who discover the Passover fish in their bath tub and decide to save its life--really funny and gives a good insight to how children might see things.
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Mar 15, 2013
Janine Weston
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Dec 15, 2010
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Jan 29, 2008
Allison Stone
rated it it was ok
Apr 28, 2019
rated it it was amazing
Feb 04, 2008
Kalli Taub
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Oct 03, 2017
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Apr 11, 2020
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Oct 10, 2012
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Jul 24, 2008
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Barbara Cohen (1932-1992) was the author of several acclaimed picture books and novels for young readers, including The Carp in the Bathtub, Yussel's Prayer: A Yom Kippur Story, Thank You, Jackie Robinson, and King of the Seventh Grade.

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