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Ketzel, the cat who composed /

"Moshe Cotel was a composer who lived in a noisy building on a noisy street in a noisy city. But Moshe didn't mind. Everything he heard was music to his ears. One day, while out for a walk, he heard a small, sad sound that he'd never heard before. It was a tiny kitten! "Come on, little Ketzel, "... Full description

Main Author:
Other Authors: Bates, Amy June,
Format: Book
Language: English
Published: Candlewick Press, 2015
Edition: First edition.
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SUMMARY

A 2016 Association of Jewish Libraries Sydney Taylor Award Winner

A kitten's stroll down a keyboard leads to a celebrated one-minute composition in this charming portrait of a remarkable true friendship.

Moshe Cotel was a composer who lived in a noisy building on a noisy street in a noisy city. But Moshe didn't mind. Everything he heard was music to his ears. One day, while out for a walk, he heard a small, sad sound that he'd never heard before. It was a tiny kitten! "Come on, little Ketzel," Moshe said, "I will take you home and we will make beautiful music together." And they did--in a most surprising way. Inspired by a true story, Lesléa Newman and Amy June Bates craft an engaging tale of a creative man and the beloved cat who brings unexpected sweet notes his way.


Review by Booklist Review

*Starred Review* Composer Moshe Cotel lives in a noisy building in the middle of a noisy street in the middle of a noisy city, but everything is music to his ears. One day, he hears a new noise: a frightened kitten mewling. He names her Ketzel Yiddish for cat and takes her home, where she spends happy hours listening to Moshe playing piano. An announcement of the Paris New Music Review's contest arrives in the mail, calling for compositions of 60 seconds or less. Moshe finds this impossible until Ketzel creeps across the piano keys and plays a lovely tune with a clear beginning, middle, and end. And it's only 21 seconds long! Piece for Piano: Four Paws, by Ketzel Cotel, wins special mention in the contest. When Moshe and Ketzel appear for its debut, no one believes she wrote it, but Four Paws becomes famous, even earning her $19.72 in royalties. Based on a true incident, this delightfully told story is unlikely and adorable in equal parts. Bates' watercolor, gouache, and pencil illustrations feature an unanthropomorphic kitty whose inquisitive and quizzical nature will be familiar to all cat owners. The author's note offers all the answers readers will want. An absolute charmer!--Cooper, Ilene Copyright 2015 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

Here's a lovely tale of cross-species affection and creativity, based on a true story (recounted in an afterword). While seeking inspiration in the busy streets of New York City, a composer and pianist named Moshe Cotel finds and adopts a stray kitten, bestowing it with the Yiddish name Ketzel (for "kitten"). Ketzel proves more than a companion: when Moshe needs an entry for a music competition restricted to pieces no longer than one minute, the kitten steps in and composes a piece by walking across the keys (Moshe dubs it "Piece for Piano: Four Paws" and gives her full credit). Newman's great affection for her subject is evident, yet she never crosses into cutesiness or sentimentality; her reportorial tone is a perfect match for her down-to-earth, generous hero. Bates, working in hues of parchment and gold, produces some wonderfully warm vignettes, pushing the graceful realism of her watercolor, gouache, and pencil drawings just enough to add a glint of magic to a story that's already one of a kind. Ages 5-8. Author's agent: Elizabeth Harding, Curtis Brown. Illustrator's agency: Shannon Associates. (Oct.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by School Library Journal Review

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.-Barbara Auerbach, New York City Public Schools © Copyright 2015. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
AUTHOR NOTES

Lesléa Newman is the author of more than sixty books for readers of all ages, including The Best Cat in the World, illustrated by Ronald Himler, and Hachiko Waits, illustrated by Machiyo Kodaira, and October Mourning, a Stonewall Honor Book. She lives in Holyoke, Massachusetts.

Amy June Bates has illustrated more than forty books for children, including Waiting for the Magic by Patricia MacLachlan and The Dog Who Belonged to No One by Amy Hest. Her work has been honored by the Society of Illustrators. She lives in Carlisle, Pennsylvania.


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