Genres: Children's, Historical, Animals,
Release Date: 01/01/08
Find The Author: Website
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Kaspar the cat first
came to The Savoy Hotel in a basket - Johnny Trott knows, because he was
the one who carried him in. Johnny was a bell-boy, you see, and he
carried all of Countess Kandinsky's things to her room.
didn't expect to end up with Kaspar on his hands forever, and nor did he
count on making friends with Lizziebeth, a spirited American heiress.
Pretty soon, events are set in motion that will take Johnny - and Kaspar
- all around the world, surviving theft, shipwreck and rooftop rescues
along the way. Because everything changes with a cat like Kaspar around.
After all, he's Kaspar Kandinsky, Prince of Cats, a Muscovite, a
Londoner and a New Yorker, and as far as anyone knows, the only cat to
survive the sinking of the Titanic...
Normally, if I saw a children's book that was around 200 pages long and filled with illustrations, I would be skeptical about it being a good story. But I've read one like it before, by the same author so I was pretty hopeful about this one too. It really lived up to my expectations! If the name Michael rings a bell it should - he's written books such as War Horse, Kensuke's Kingdom and Private Peaceful.
The book is about Kaspar but told from the point of view of Johnny, a fourteen year old working at the Savoy Hotel in London, in the early 1900's. His dreams are far bigger than being a bell boy for the rest of his life and when a Countess walks through the doors of the Hotel one day, his entire life changes.
There's a lot of sad, and happily sad, events in this story. Pretty quickly into this book things take a turn for the worse and Johnny finds himself tasked with the job of keeping Kaspar a secret, as he's not allowed pets in the Hotel. Things get better when he meets Lizziebeth, a spirited girl from America, who discovers Kaspar and immediately falls in love with him.
Of course, the Titanic plays a big part in Johnny's life later in the story and despite it being such a tragic event, it could also have been one of the best things that happened to him, in an odd way. The ending was perfect (purrfect?), yet sad. Happily sad though! I did cry a little.
I loved this book most of all for it's ability to appeal to both children and adults. It's a very memorable story and the history is described perfectly, making everything easy to picture. I highly recommend this and another book of Michael's I have read, The Mozart Question, which I (almost) guarantee will make you cry a little.