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BOOK REVIEWS FOR KIDS: Kaspar Prince of Cats, by Michael Morpurgo

February 8, 2010

Where to start with the review of this book?

Chipmunk and I had never read anything by Michael Morpurgo before, although I had heard of him, and Chipmunk’s Friday teacher recommended that we give one a shot.  So we did.

Wow.

That about sums it up really.  You want more?  Ok.  Let me think.

Alright then.  This book is one of the most outstanding children’s books I think I have ever read.  The story captures the imagination from the moment you start reading the first line.  Michael Foreman’s illustrations are utterly beautiful, and capture the mood of Morpurgo’s words perfectly, without becoming a distraction from them.

The plot concerns Johnny Trott – a young bell-boy at the Savoy hotel in London, Lizziebeth – an American heiress, and, of course, Kaspar, 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”.  Yes, the story is set in the early 20th Century, but Morpurgo’s descriptions of this era are as vivid and fascinating as to make the reader truly believe they are there.  The way the story is written means that it is easily identifiable for today’s children, while capturing the feel of a time almost one hundred years ago.

The book deals with some big issues for children, such as death and destruction – and, of course, the sinking of the Titanic.  But these issues are dealt with sensitively and carefully, while also prompting discussion.  The characters are wonderfully created and so real – no child could fail to identify with at least one of them!  For Chipmunk, Johnny Trott was the hero of the story – while Lizziebeth could have been written just for Miss Fifi.

Morpurgo draws the reader in and makes them live every second of the story with his characters.  You can see the opulance of the Savoy, hear the bustle on the streets of London and smell the sea air from the decks of the Titanic.  While we were reading this book, Chipmunk could not wait for bedtime and the commencing of the next chapter.  Every new chapter began another adventure, with every turn of the page a surprise lay waiting to excite and delight.  I am not going to tell you any more than that – to do so, would be to spoil all of the book’s wonderful moments.  This is an adventure you need to live for yourself, and I urge you to do so with every fibre of my being – whether you have children to share it with or not.  This is a story we will be returning to again, and again, and again.

Chipmunk is now fascinated with the story of the Titanic and cannot wait to conduct his own research on this subject.  Both he and I cannot recommend this book highly enough.  We are now on a quest of our own to seek out and read every available Morpurgo book we can possibly get our hands on!

Rating:  ★★★★★  5/5 stars

Chipmunk’s Verdict:  Definitely 5 stars, because it’s so good.

Overall Verdict:  A fantastic, wonderful read.  A true delight.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. February 8, 2010 21:26

    I have something for you over at my blog 🙂

  2. February 11, 2010 21:16

    I simply must show this to my daughter! She’s planning on being an elementary school teacher, as well as having me some grandkiddies someday. This book sounds perfect on both counts!

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