Written by Ann Redish Stempler
Illustrated by Francesca Carabelli
Published by Kar-Ben, Spring 2013
Themes: cats, Israel, neighbours
Up and Down Ben Yehuda Street: cats, cats, cats. Cats curling up on benches and stretching underneath. Cats licking their paws on porches and climbing leafy branches.
A tale of two neighbours and two cats. This story is set in a cat abundant neighbourhood of Tel Aviv, and while not the focus of the book, the signs in hebrew and the kippa that Mr. Modiano wears all clearly depict the Jewish setting. While sixteen adorable cats grace the opening double spread, the two cats we are interested in belong to Mrs Spiegel. Well, due to the one-cat-only policy in her apartment building, Ketzie, with the collar, is allowed in Mrs Speigel’s apartment, while Gatito has to remain outside the door.
Mrs Spiegel’s neighbour, Mr. Modiano the grumpy fishmonger, has a secret crush on Mrs. Spiegel and cats, though he won’t admit it. He brings her fish every evening (for her and not the cats, mind) and always refuses her offer of tea, with a ‘lo, lo, lo’ or ‘no, no, no’. Well, no points for guessing who finds poor Ketzie when she goes missing and how this might affect the fate of both cats and both adults!
Why I like this book:
I love the warmth of this story and themes of every day life: being a good neighbour, companionship, friendship, and, of course, cats! The illustrations by Italian artist, Francesca Carabelli, are round, jovial and enhance the conviviality of the scenes. My favorite scene is late the night that Ketzie goes missing, the ‘cat-hating’ Mr.Modiano sets off on his scooter to search Tel Aviv for his neighbour’s cat! There is a definite Mediterranean feel to this book, maybe that’s why i enjoy it so much: the beach, the market, the outdoor cafés!
Francesca Carabelli’s website is: http://francescacarabelli.ultra-book.com/
Do enter the international giveaway to win a copy of the book here: a Rafflecopter giveaway.