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Kaspar the Titanic Cat


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Michael Morpurgo is one of Britain's best-loved children's book writers. He has written more than one hundred books and has won the Smarties Book Prize, the Whitbread Award, and the Blue Peter Book Award for Private Peaceful. Michael was writer-in-residence at the Savoy Hotel from January to April 2007, and previously he was Great Britain's Children's Laureate from 2003 to 2005, a role that took him across the country to inspire a love of reading in children.

Michael Foreman grew up in a small English fishing village and has loved the sea ever since. He has illustrated more than one hundred children's books, and he has won the Kate Greenaway Medal, the Smarties Book Prize, and the Federation of Children's Book Groups' Red House Children's Book Award. He has collaborated with Michael Morpurgo on several successful books, including The Amazing Story Of Adolphus Tips and Billy the Kid.

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"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"

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 (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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