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Kaspar: Prince of Cats Paperback – 7 Jan 2010


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Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollinsChildren'sBooks (7 Jan. 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007267002
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007267002
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 1.6 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (164 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,269 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Multi-award winning author, Michael Morpurgo, is one of Britain's best-loved writers for children and has won many prizes, including the Smarties Prize, The Writers Guild Award and the Blue Peter Book Award for his recent novel, Private Peaceful, which has also had two successful runs as a play devised by Bristol Old Vic. From 2003 to 2005 he was the Children's Laureate, a role which took him all over the UK to promote literacy and reading, and in 2005 he was named the Booksellers Association Author of the Year.

Product Description

From the Author

I'm a story detective. I hunt down clues because I need evidence to write my stories. So what was the evidence behind the writing of Kaspar?

A year ago I was asked to be Writer-in-Residence at the Savoy Hotel in London. This involved putting on some literary events and staying for three months at the Savoy. My wife Clare and I had a bed the size of Ireland, and breakfast every morning looking out over the Thames. Everyone in the hotel was very kind. We were treated like royalty - which was great!

Then one day, in the corridor next to the American Bar, I met Kaspar, the Savoy Cat. He was sitting there in a glass showcase - a sculpture of a huge black cat - very elegant, very superior. I made enquiries, as detectives do, and found out why he was there.

One day, almost a hundred years ago, thirteen men sat down to a dinner party at the Savoy. One of them scoffed loudly at the suggestion that thirteen might be an unlucky number, said it was so much tosh. Only a few weeks later, he was shot down in his office in Johannesburg, South Africa. Thereafter The Savoy decided that they would never again allow thirteen people to sit down together for dinner. They would always have a fourteenth chair, and sitting on the fourteenth chair, there would be a specially carved sculpture of a lucky black cat. He was known as Kaspar.
My first clue.

My second clue: I came down to breakfast one morning, and was walking down the red carpeted stairs into the River Restaurant, when I looked up and had a sudden sense of déjà vu. The whole decor and atmosphere reminded me of pictures I'd seen of the restaurant on the Titanic. I knew then my story would be about a cat called Kaspar, who would live at the Savoy and become the only cat to survive the sinking of the Titanic.

But it was the people who lived and worked at the Savoy who gave me my last and most vital clue. I discovered that they came from every corner of the globe. And I soon discovered also that their lives were very different from the lives of the guests they looked after. It would have been very much like this, I thought, in 1912, at the time the Titanic went down.

My evidence was complete. A little dreamtime, to make some sense of all the clues, and I could begin my story, about how Kaspar was brought to the Savoy by a very famous diva - an opera singer, a Countess from Russia...
Michael Morpurgo --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Inside Flap

Kaspar the cat first came to The Savoy Hotel in a basket - Johnny Trott knows, because he was the one who carried him in. Johnny was a bell-boy, you see, and he carried all of Countess Kandinsky's things to her room.

But Johnny didn't expect to end up with Kaspar on his hands forever, and nor did he count on making friends with Lizziebeth, a spirited American heiress. Pretty soon, events are set in motion that will take Johnny - and Kaspar - all around the world, surviving theft, shipwreck and rooftop rescues along the way. Because everything changes with a cat like Kaspar around. After all, he's Kaspar Kandinsky, 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 ... --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

49 of 51 people found the following review helpful By Meldorf on 9 Dec. 2008
Format: Hardcover
Kaspar is about Johnny Trott, a bell boy in the Savoy Hotel in London, who is an orphan. He is trusted with the duty of looking after a guest's cat but this cat is no ordinary cat; it is the prince of all cats. He becomes good friends with a rich girl called Elisabeth and he stows away on the Titanic so that he can be with her. But the Titanic hits an iceberg and he is the one to tell Elisabeth and her family that the ship is sinking. At the last minute he realises that he has forgotten the cat and he must go and fetch him.
Sometimes everything seems to be going badly for Johnny but things are never as bad as you may think. It has a more than satisfying conclusion.
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70 of 74 people found the following review helpful By A. Rhodes on 14 Nov. 2008
Format: Hardcover
My eight year old daughter and I are devoted Michael Morpurgo fans and Kaspar is undoubtedly our favourite so far. Beautifully illustrated and told with great empathy for the human and animal subjects. In all his stories he tackles big issues for children to understand and the portrayal of the sinking of the Titanic is no exception. Even so he kept us both gripped and the ending brought a lump to my throat. Whether you are a devotee or a first time reader you will not be disappointed.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Bookworm on 22 Jan. 2012
Format: Paperback
This is a beautifully written story which I first read myself aged 26 and have since shared with nieces, nephews and classes of children in school. Without exception they have all loved it. It's great to find stories which both boys and girls enjoy equally, and I can definitely put Kaspar Prince of Cats into this category. A firm favourite on my bookshelf!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Jay on 6 July 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A good read for 7-10 year olds (approx). As usual from Michael Morpurgo, it is well written with engaging characters and plot. We are going to use with Year 5 pupils because of the Titanic link.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By K. J. Noyes TOP 100 REVIEWER on 13 Nov. 2013
Format: Audio CD
Another beautiful little tale from Morpurgo with an animal at its heart.

Abandoned London pageboy, Johnny Trot, meets a Russian Countess at the hotel in which he works. With her is her cat, Kaspar, a Prince, says the Countess. Becoming friends with them both, he finds himself alone in caring for the cat unexpectedly. And then Elizabeth comes to stay at the hotel with her parents, offering friendship to the orphan. But her day of departure draws near - she is to sail for America... on the Titanic...

Good period detail, a nice story of friendship, and a wonderful account for children of the sinking of the Titanic. It doesn't hold back from saying what happened, and you really do root for Johnny and Kaspar to make it safely out of the water.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By sugaspicekiki on 3 Mar. 2011
Format: Paperback
I was in an impulsive mood when i bought this, seen it had a cute black cat on the cover like mine snapped it up,read the blurb on the back it mentioned the titanic,thought it sounded interesting so i got it.Now bearing in mind im 21 an this is a kids book i really enjoyed it lol not that it bothers me its a kids book as i read anything that appeals an many diff books.Its a nice happy story apart from some bits obviously cuz the titanics in it but i thought the author was very good the way he covered it, its more based around the cat than actually about it but i enjoyed the story and im sure any child would love this,i defo would have when i was a kid
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Format: Paperback
Normally, if I saw a children's book that was around 200 pages long and filled with illustrations, I would be skeptical about it being a good story. But I've read one like it before, by the same author so I was pretty hopeful about this one too. It really lived up to my expectations! If the name Michael rings a bell it should - he's written books such as War Horse, Kensuke's Kingdom and Private Peaceful.

The book is about Kaspar but told from the point of view of Johnny, a fourteen year old working at the Savoy Hotel in London, in the early 1900's. His dreams are far bigger than being a bell boy for the rest of his life and when a Countess walks through the doors of the Hotel one day, his entire life changes.

There's a lot of sad, and happily sad, events in this story. Pretty quickly into this book things take a turn for the worse and Johnny finds himself tasked with the job of keeping Kaspar a secret, as he's not allowed pets in the Hotel. Things get better when he meets Lizziebeth, a spirited girl from America, who discovers Kaspar and immediately falls in love with him.

Of course, the Titanic plays a big part in Johnny's life later in the story and despite it being such a tragic event, it could also have been one of the best things that happened to him, in an odd way. The ending was perfect (purrfect?), yet sad. Happily sad though! I did cry a little.

I loved this book most of all for it's ability to appeal to both children and adults. It's a very memorable story and the history is described perfectly, making everything easy to picture. I highly recommend this and another book of Michael's I have read, The Mozart Question, which I (almost) guarantee will make you cry a little.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I've been reading this one with my 7 yr old at bedtime, and it went down a storm. It was her first Morpurgo, and she's keen to read more.

Johnny Trott is a bellboy at the Savoy and it is his engaging voice that tells us Kaspar's (and his own) story. We soon warmed to Johnny, whose past and feelings are interwoven effectively with his narration of the story's events. Other characters were equally masterfully drawn, including an enigmatic Russian opera-singing Countess, a vindictive Head Housekeeper and a mischievous but warm-hearted wealthy American girl.

Period detail, especially the contrast between high and low classes of the time, is clearly-drawn and absorbing. My daughter certainly learned a lot. The few chapters dealing with the Titanic voyage transported us there with depictions of sounds, smells and sights and we were gripped by the account of the sinking. The younger among us were particularly excited that the story included Things that Really Happened - although I suppose that could create confusion in some young readers, especially if they're reading alone.

What I especially appreciated about the book is its gentleness. It deals with some fairly mature themes and concepts, yet it does so in a non-threatening and relatively comfortable way. I don't know if my daughter would have coped well with reading it on her own, but it was a great read to share and prompted many worthwhile conversations.

So, this rates for me as a classic children's book, taking you out of reality and into someone else's experience. And, as a bonus (and speaking as a teacher), there is additional educational value in the historical aspect of the book.
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