Review Blog

Mar 19 2009

Kaspar, prince of cats by Michael Morpurgo

cover image

HarperCollins, 2008.
(Ages : 8+) The bell boy at the Savoy Hotel in London, Johnny Trott finds himself in an exalted position when the Countess Kandinsky becomes friendly with him because he spends time with her cat, Kaspar. At first the cat is aloof, but over time, they get to know each other, and so when the Countess dies, Johnny Trott is the obvious choice of a carer. But he must hide the cat, as he is not allowed to have a pet, and some of the other staff help him. Johnny Trott has not had a easy life, and is lucky to have a job in Edwardian London. He becomes friendly with a young girl whose family resides in the Savoy, and together they spend time with the cat.
Johnny saves the life of the young girl, and as a reward, her wealthy American parents stop his sacking from the hotel and take the cat as their own. He is allowed to come and see them off on their trip back to America on the Titanic, and at the last minute, becomes a stowaway.
The night the ship strikes an iceberg is told in detail, with striking illustrations from the pen of renowned Michael Foreman, making the sinking of the ship far more real to the child reader. With the family, orphan Johnny as well as the cat to think about, no reader can be unaffected by the description of the sinking of this ship.
A riveting read, bound in an attractive but oddly sized paperback, brimming with illustrations, this story will hold the interest of middle primary readers, eager to learn about the Titanic, but also wanting a good read.
Fran Knight

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