Thursday, October 6, 2016

Ketzel the Cat who Composed - #PPBF

 I love stories that seem like they can't be "real"--but they are!  The book I'm high-lighting this week is one of those stories.

Title: Ketzel, the Cat who Composed
Author: Leslea Newman 
Illustrator: Amy June Bates
Publisher: Candlewick Press, 2015 
Intended Ages: 5-8 
Themes: Animals, music
Opening Lines: "Moshe Cotel lived in the middle of a noisy building in the middle of a noisy street in the middle of a noisy city. But Moshe didn't mind. Everything he heard was music to his ears."
Synopsis: When Moshe can't compose an entry for a music contest, a kitten he rescued finds a way to make beautiful music.

What I like about this book: The cover made me pick this one up. And I'm not a cat person. But the adorable kitty on the cover, sitting on piano keys, smiled it's way into my arms. Definitely not a grumpy cat, this one. The story starts slowly, introducing a man named Moshe as the main character. When he rescues a kitten off the street, even though the story is Moshe's, Ketzel (the kitten) carries the story--and saves the day. This book is based on true events--with an author's note at the end detailing what is fact and what was fictionalized for storytelling purposes. Do you think a kitten can play the piano?? I don't want to spoil the story, you'll have to read it to believe it! The book is a 2016 Association of Jewish Libraries Sydney Taylor Award Winner.

  • Using any instrument (tap different things with a pencil or rap with your voice if you don't have an instrument handy) compose a short song. 
  • Try composing music online. I didn't get past the "Beat Lab" at free-online music-making for kids. Too much fun!
  • There are more than 1000 cat crafts to choose from on Pinterest!
  • Collect food for homeless cats like Ketzel. Maybe even bring one home to discover their special talent! :)
  • Attend a concert. Talk about which music you liked and why.

Thanks for stopping by! Hope you enjoy my selection this week. 
This review is part of PPBF (Perfect Picture Book Friday) where bloggers share great picture books. Organized and curated by author Susanna Leonard Hill, she keeps an ever-growing list of Perfect Picture Books. #PPBF


  1. Great choice! I remember when this came out because I am obsessed with illustrator Amy June Bates. She posted sketches and such on her blog. I always assumed this was about the composer for "Kitten on the Keys" but I guess I'll finally have to read it to find out. Interestingly, Amy also illustrated Susan Reich's Minette's Feast, another PB biography featuring a cat. Thanks for the review!

  2. I'm kind of obsessed with the illustrator now, too! Hope you enjoy this one.

  3. Is there room for a third fan of the illustrator, Amy June Bates. And I have to add that this is one of my favorite books, and I'm happy to see you reviewed for PPBF because it is a perfect picture book.

  4. Such an adorable cover! I did pick it up and browse through it at the library. Such a beautiful story with a lovely ending.

    1. It's so amazing--the fact that it's true is icing on the cake.

  5. This has been receiving such super reviews and I agree, Katzel is adorable.

    1. Thanks, Joanna. I wonder if kittens could work the computer keyboard . . .