Kaspar the Titanic Cat

Kaspar the Titanic Cat

4.1 16
by Michael Morpurgo, Michael Foreman
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

When kaspar the cat first arrived at London’s Savoy Hotel, it was Johnny Trott who carried him in. After all, Johnny was a bellboy and was responsible for all of Countess Kandinsky’s things— including Kaspar. But when tragedy befalls the Countess during her stay, Kaspar becomes more than Johnny’s responsibility: Kaspar is Johnny’s

See more details below

  • Checkmark Kids' Club Eligible  Shop Now

Overview

When kaspar the cat first arrived at London’s Savoy Hotel, it was Johnny Trott who carried him in. After all, Johnny was a bellboy and was responsible for all of Countess Kandinsky’s things— including Kaspar. But when tragedy befalls the Countess during her stay, Kaspar becomes more than Johnny’s responsibility: Kaspar is Johnny’s new cat, and his new best friend.

And when Kaspar and Johnny meet Lizziebeth, a spirited young heiress, they find themselves journeying across the Atlantic with Lizziebeth’s family on England’s newest and most magnificent ship, the Titanic. Because there is always adventure in the air with a cat like Kaspar around. After all, he’s Kaspar Kandinsky, Prince of Cats, a Londoner and a New Yorker and, as far as anyone knows, the only cat to survive the sinking of the Titanic. . . .

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Former British children’s laureate Morpurgo (War Horse) offers a sweet, touching historical novel (published in the U.K. in 2008) that balances sentimentality with humor and action. The orphaned 14-year-old narrator, Johnny Trott, a put-upon bellhop at a London hotel, becomes the caretaker of the titular cat after the sudden death of Kaspar’s owner, the opera singer Countess Kandinsky. As Johnny attempts to hide his new charge from the hotel’s malicious head housekeeper, Mrs. Blaise (nicknamed “Skullface”), he worries that Kaspar is pining for his late owner. Kaspar cheers up when he meets Lizziebeth, a girl who instantly takes to the cat. Morpurgo keeps the action moving swiftly, with new characters and concerns shoring up the fast friendship that forms between the two teenagers (and the cat they love). Readers might find the title misleading—only about a third of the story takes place on board the Titanic, although it certainly represents the tensest part of the novel—but the story is more than enjoyable enough to compensate, with Foreman’s delicately detailed spot art contributing to the book’s strong sense of atmosphere. Ages 8�12. (Mar.)
The Bulletin for the Center for Children's Books
“Young readers stricken with Titanic fever will be more than happy to have yet another timely...take on the sinking.”
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"Young readers stricken with Titanic fever will be more than happy to have yet another timely...take on the sinking."
Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
“Young readers stricken with Titanic fever will be more than happy to have yet another timely...take on the sinking.”
Children's Literature - Peg Glisson
Young teen Johnny Trott is an orphaned bellboy at the posh Savoy Hotel in London in 1912. When opera star Countess Kandinsky arrives for a three-month stay, Johnny transports her luggage, and her yowling cat Kaspar, to her room; in so doing he begins to earn her trust, respect, and eventually affection. Her sudden death leaves him as caretaker of Kaspar, a fact he must hide from the hotel's head housekeeper, known as Skullface to hotel staff. Lizziebeth Stanton, a rich, young American staying at the Savoy, befriends Johnny and Kaspar; his rescue of her from a high perch leads to her family's friendship and concern for the boy. When it's time for the Stantons' return to America, Johnny takes their bags to the Titanic, where he lingers too long on deck and becomes a stowaway. Miraculously, Johnny manages to save Kaspar as the ship goes down and the four plus Kaspar are safely reunited and happily spend time together in NYC before the outbreak of World War I. About half of the book takes place before the Titanic sails and provides an interesting look at life in London in the early twentieth century. The fast-moving story is easy to read and Foreman's detailed black-and-white drawings add detail and emotion, effectively portraying lifestyle and events. There is an old-fashioned feel to this light historical novel. With so much attention to the 100th anniversary of the Titanic's fatal voyage, it is a fun and somewhat exciting look not only on board but also at the period. Reviewer: Peg Glisson
Kirkus Reviews
Readers might be tempted to check the copyright date on this old-fashioned rags-to-riches tale that manages to turn a major historical disaster into just another incident in the narrator's very full life. The overall tone is decidedly nostalgic as Johnny Trott, a poor orphan who once worked as a bellboy at the swanky Savoy Hotel in London, tells his story. From the arrival (and untimely demise) of a talented Russian singer and her titular cat Kaspar through Johnny's acquaintance with a mischievous young American girl, a stint as a stowaway on the Titanic, the well-known sinking of the great ship, life in the United States, the Great War and back (just for a visit) to the Savoy, Morpurgo crams in too much action with too little emotional depth. Stilted conversational styles reflect the formality of the day but serve to further distance readers. Kaspar, while realistically portrayed in his feline hauteur and self-absorption, has limited appeal and, like most of the other characters, seems to exist mainly to propel the plot. Foreman's black-and-white illustrations have a pleasing variation of texture, the likely result of having been first rendered in watercolor. From small vignettes to larger scenes, they effectively capture the styles of the day and accurately reflect the action, but they can't quite manage to enliven the text. Surprisingly (and disappointingly) dull. (Historical fiction. 9-12)
School Library Journal
Gr 2�5—Despite the title, this is really the story of a bell boy at the ritzy Savoy Hotel in London. Kaspar arrives with a wealthy Russian singer, and, after her tragic death, Johnny Trott takes care of him even though he is not allowed any pets in his room. Elizabeth Stanton, the young daughter of rich Americans, and her family are staying at the Savoy until they sail home. After accompanying the Stantons to the ship and giving Kaspar to Lizziebeth, Johnny makes a rash decision to stow away. He is rapidly discovered and put to work in the engine room stoking the big furnaces. When the iceberg is hit, Johnny goes to wake the Stantons and helps to rescue Kaspar and get him on a lifeboat. All three Stantons, Kaspar, and Johnny survive the disaster and Johnny is adopted by the family. There is nothing remarkable about this story to make it stand out from among the other offerings commemorating the famous disaster. The characters are likable, but almost caricatures; for instance, the matron in charge is called "Skullface" by the children because she is mean and angry. Foreman's black-and-white illustrations, many full page, help accentuate the narrative, and short sentences, adequate white space, and the medium-size text will aid readers who are transitioning to more challenging chapter books. However, the nostalgic, humdrum story may not captivate their interest.—Amy Commers, South St. Paul Public Library, MN

Read More

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780062006189
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
03/13/2012
Pages:
208
Sales rank:
710,210
Product dimensions:
5.60(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.00(d)
Lexile:
870L (what's this?)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >