FICTION

Ketzel, the Cat Who Composed

illus. by Amy June Bates. 40p. Candlewick. Oct. 2015. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780763665555. LC 2013957479.
COPY ISBN
PreS-Gr 2—Musicians and cat lovers alike will enjoy this charming picture book based on a true story. Moshe Cotel, a young composer, lives alone in a busy, noisy city, but "Everything he heard was music to his ears." One day he discovers Ketzel, a tiny, black-and-white kitten, on the street. He holds her tenderly to his chest and declares, "I will take you home, and we will make beautiful music together," prophetic words, to say the least. When Moshe receives a letter from the Paris New Music Review about a contest to write a composition of 60 seconds or less, try as he might, he is at a loss. Then, Ketzel creeps across the keyboard, inadvertently accomplishing what the composer could not. "Moshe grabbed a pencil and jotted down exactly what he'd heard…. 'Your composition has a clear beginning, middle, and end, is full of heart, and takes exactly 21 seconds to play. Ketzel, you're a genius!'" The feline's "Piece for Piano: Four Paws" wins an honorable mention, and its furry composer actually attends a performance. The watercolor, gouache, and pencil illustrations depict a busy city, a sympathetic bearded musician, and a simply adorable protagonist.
VERDICT A delightful read.

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