Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Book Review - Scarlatti's Cat


Scarlatti's Cat

By: Nathaniel Lachenmeyer
Illustrated by: Carlyn Beccia
Publisher: Carolrhoda Books
Publication Date: March 2014
ISBN: 978-0761354727
Reviewed by: Deb Fowler
Review Date: March 2014

Pulcinella cat sat on a red hassock dreamily looking over at Scarlatti as he composed a sonata at his harpsichord. The sun came through the window, toasting her beautiful orange fur. It was nice to hear Scarlatti play, but “what she wanted to do more than anything, was compose.” The notes danced through her head at night and she glanced up at the moon, imagining her paws dancing on that keyboard. In the morning Pulcinella cat sat on a stool in front of the double keyboard. No, that Scarlatti had rules and one of them was that “no one was ever allowed to touch his favorite instrument.” Not ever!

Scarlatti grew famous with his compositions and that meant they would travel. They even “met some of the greatest composers of the day,” including George Frideric Handel. Unfortunately, Pulcinella cat “thought he had very poor taste in pets.” Yes, he had none other than a dog. They moved to Madrid and thoughts of composing drifted away. That was until she spotted a very unwelcome visitor beneath the harpsichord. The chase was on for that mouse and all of a sudden when Scarlatti tried to “shoo” Pulcinella cat away, she “jumped on top of the harpsichord–and landed on the keys.” Would this be the end of her composing career before she even began?

This is the amazing story of Pulcinella cat that will make everyone chuckle. Many people have heard of the great composers, including Giuseppe Domenico Scarlatti, but few have heard of his special cat, Pulcinella. Legend has it that Scarlatti credited her for helping him compose “The Cat’s Fugue” when she landed on that keyboard. The twist at the end is a fun one and perhaps fodder for yet another Pulcinella tale. The artwork is very Baroque-like, capturing the essence of the period, although Pulcinella cat could just be in ‘most anyone’s household these days. Of course Pulcinella will be a most welcome cat on anyone’s shelves as well.

Quill says: This amazingly fun and humorous tale will tickle everyone's funny bone, including that of the most diehard curmudgeon!