“Ah, Ketzel, I see that music stirs your soul” he said. “And that is a wonderful thing.”
In this charming picture book for children, a young and passionate composer and piano player meets a lonely but lively street kitten- and together they are able to do something inspirational! Ketzel is a Yiddish word that means “kitten”. The cutest thing about this story is that it was a true story. Ketzel was a real kitten who composed!
The story is easy to read for young readers, and great for a read-aloud book in the classroom or to read as a family. The day I received the book, my younger siblings already requested to have it read as a bedtime story. They quite enjoyed it. My preschool sister’s evaluation of the book was: “I like this book, it’s very, very, very funny”.
The illustrations are delightful, by one of my favorite illustrators Amy June Bates. While reading the book, the mood of the illustrations and the characters reminded me a little of the animation 101 Dalmatians that I used to watch when I was a young child. The story is dynamic and takes readers through the ups and downs of the life of Ketzel and his owner, and builds up to the final conclusion, a triumphant happy ending! Yet I appreciated that the book kept a realistic tone and showed that sometimes even when you work hard, things don’t turn out the way you want them at first, and you may have disappointments in the process. In addition, although Ketzel and his owner were successful in the end, it was not a Hollywood type of triumph where they strike it rich. They continue their life as usual but always have the joy of looking back on their success!
Pros: This is a great story for children and families who are musicians and have a passion for music, as well as for those who love animals. It is a fairly new release and it would make a lovely gift.
Cons: I wish the author would have mentioned in the book that Ketzel means kitten, although I suppose it is quite obvious, though it would have been a nice learning opportunity for children, and it is not mentioned anywhere in the book. I’m glad there was an author’s note at the end of the book to explain details behind the story and what happened to Ketzel and the composer afterward (hint: the composer became a Rabbi) so as a parent you may not want to read to children that rabbi’s believe in some kind of meditation/concentration. So you can skip that part or the author’s note altogether.