Ketzel, the Cat Who Composed

by Lesléa Newman and Amy June Bates

Composer Moshe Cotel loves the sounds of the city. One day while out walking he hears... read more

Composer Moshe Cotel loves the sounds of the city. One day while out walking he hears a new sound. “It was a small sound. It was a sad sound.” It was a kitten, which Moshe names Ketzel. Back home, Moshe composes while Ketzel listens. But when he enters a competition to write a 60-second composition, Moshe is stymied. “Impossible!” While Moshe stews, Ketzel prances across the keys. Moshe likes what he hears: “Your composition has a clear beginning, middle, and end, is full of heart, and takes exactly twenty-one seconds to play.” He enters it in the competition under the name Ketzel Cotel, titling it “Piece for Piano: Four Paws.” It earns a certificate of special mention. A charming picture book story based on true events further detailed in the author’s note tells how Ketzel’s piece went on to be performed in public, even earning a $19.72 royalty check (used to buy cat food). Warm watercolor illustrations are a perfect accompaniment to the story. (Ages 5–8)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2016

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