'Kaspar Prince of Cats' by Michael Morpurgo

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Jun 16, 2003
I purchased this book in hardback from my local bookstore today. Having read it this afternoon I have already ordered another copy for a Christmas present! A considerable chunk of the story takes place on the Titanic.

I found this short novel utterly charming and very, very moving. It is beautifully illustrated with pen and ink drawings by Michael Foreman. The novel relates the story of Johnny, a young orphan working as a bell boy at the Savoy hotel in London, Kaspar, an aristocratic cat who he befriends and their adventures together. Morpurgo treats the Titanic disaster with great sensitivity but also with a secure grasp of the facts.

Morpurgo is one the leading writers for young people today in the UK. I have read many of his books with my students and they are always well received. I would also strongly recommend another of his novels, 'Private Peaceful' which is set in the years up to and including the First World War. (If you don't shed a tear or two at the end then, frankly, you've got a heart of stone!!)
Jun 4, 2000
A long time admirerer of Michael Foreman's work, I snaffled a copy of this book when I spotted it at a local bookshop a while back. Foreman's watercolours are as good as ever and I agree with Anthony regarding the book's charm.

The story is inspired by the Savoy Hotel's black cat statuette Kaspar, who is used to even up the numbers if there's ever an 'unlucky' party of thirteen to dine. I wouldn't describe it as historically accurate, but it's not a documentary and doesn't pretend to be so. Truly lovely, and I'm sure I'll read more of Morpurgo's books.
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