A cat strolls down a piano keyboard and saunters into musical history.
Composer Moshe Cotel finds a stray kitten near his home and dubs her Ketzel, Yiddish for “little cat.” One day a letter arrives, announcing a contest for a piece lasting one minute or less. Moshe toils away at his piano, but nothing he composes meets the time limit, and he gives up. Aiming to pounce on the grievous paper—Ketzel just knows it’s causing her guardian’s distress—she walks across the keys to reach the table where the letter lies. Little does she know what she’s wrought. Moshe is astounded by what he’s heard, immediately reproduces the notes on paper, and mails the “composition” off. In time another letter arrives—congratulating Ketzel on her award of “a certificate of special mention” for her “creative instinct and imagination.” There’s more: “Piece for Piano: Four Paws,” will be performed! News of Ketzel’s extraordinary achievement spreads, and she receives a royalty check that buys a bounty of cat food. This adorable account is as warm and fuzzy as Ketzel herself and all the sweeter because it’s based on fact. The watercolor, gouache, and pencil illustrations suit the text perfectly, delightfully capturing Ketzel’s furriness, the story’s charming, lively energy, and Moshe and the “composer’s” loving friendship.
Truly, the cat’s meow. (author’s note) (Picture book. 5-8)