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Da Vinci's Cat



by
Catherine Gilbert Murdock

Edition
Hardcover edition
Publisher
HarperCollins
Imprint
Greenwillow Bks.
ISBN
9780063015258
POTENTIALLY SENSITIVE AREAS
None
$18.30   $15.25
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Newbery Honor author Catherine Gilbert Murdock’s Da Vinci’s Cat is a thrilling, time-slip fantasy about rewriting history to save the present. Two unlikely friends—Federico, in sixteenth-century Rome, and Bee, in present-day New Jersey—are linked through an amiable cat, Leonardo Da Vinci’s mysterious wardrobe, and an eerily perfect sketch of Bee. This novel will engross anyone who loved When You Reach Me and A Wrinkle in Time.

Federico doesn’t mind being a political hostage of the Pope, especially now that he has a cat as a friend. But he must admit that a kitten walking into a wardrobe and returning full-grown a moment later is quite odd. Even stranger is the man named Herbert, apparently an art collector from the future, who emerges from the wardrobe the next night. Herbert barters with Federico to get a sketch signed by the famous painter Raphael, but his plans take a dangerous turn when he hurries back to his era, desperate to save a dying girl.

Bee never wanted to move to New Jersey. When an elderly neighbor shows Bee a sketch that perfectly resembles her, Bee, freaked out, solidifies her resolve to keep to herself. But then she meets a cat and discovers a mysterious cabinet in her neighbor’s attic—a cabinet that leads her to Renaissance Rome. Bee, who has learned about Raphael and Michelangelo in school, never expected she’d get to meet them and see them paint their masterpieces.

This original and compelling time-slip adventure by Newbery Honor author Catherine Gilbert Murdock is full of action, mystery, history, art, and friendship—and features one unforgettable cat.

Includes black-and-white spot art throughout of Da Vinci’s cat by Caldecott Medalist Paul O. Zelinsky, as well as an Author’s Note.Author’s note. Black-and-white illustrations. 

POTENTIALLY SENSITIVE AREAS
None

Details

Format

Print

Page Count

288

Trim Size

7 4/5" x 6"

Dewey

F

AR

0: points 0

Genre

Fiction

Scholastic Reading Counts

0

JLG Release

Sep 2021

Book Genres

Historical Fiction, Time Travel, Science Fiction

Topics

Michelangelo Buonarroti (1475–1564). Raphael (1483–1520). Time travel. History of Italy, 1492–1559. Cats. Fantasy and magic. Italian Renaissance.

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Praise & Reviews

School Library Journal

Gr 5-8–Newbery Honor winner Murdoch’s middle grade novel is an engaging adventure story with a lot of time traveling. Bee and Frederico are two children from different time periods—Frederico is from 16th-century Rome, while Bee lives in current-day New Jersey. They are brought together through a mysterious magical wardrobe and an adventurous time-traveling cat. Their quest is to rewrite the past to save the future, and the cat shows them the way, revealing how to use a time machine. Murdoch will captivate ­readers with her knowledge of ­medieval Europe and the city of Rome, and her vivid depictions of each character’s distinct lifestyles. Readers may be surprised by the contrasts between Bee’s and Frederico’s perceptions of gender roles and certain cultural expectations. As a modern-day girl, Bee’s appearance and behaviors intitially strike Frederico as foreign—but Frederico soon learns that girls can be just as empowered and outspoken as boys, and that it is a good thing. Character’s skin tones are not described. VERDICT This time-travelling friendship book will be a hit for fans of C.S. Lewis’s The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and Lloyd Alexander’s Time Cat.–Lisa Gieskes, Richland County P.L., Columbia, SC

Horn Book

In an original combination of portal fantasy, historical fiction, and time-travel with a hint of alt-history, this story, set in 1511, centers on (real-life historical figure) Federico II Gongaza. When eleven-year-old Federica, confined to Rome as a hostage of the pope, discovers a time-travel wardrobe constructed by Leonardo da Vinci, the fun begins. Bee, also eleven, has stepped into the wardrobe in present-day New Jersey and hurtled back in time five hundred years. The two kids meet and forge a common goal: to convince the painter Raphael to draw a portrait of Bee while also persuading Michelangelo to continue work on the Sistine Chapel. Bee’s motives are to save an elderly friend back home; Federico’s are bound up with survival and politics, but really he just wants a friend. It’s an intricate plot, macrame-like in its action and logic, but as Bee says, “Just go with me. This is what happens in time travel.” The narrative is rich in characters—Federico, equal parts arrogance and vulnerability; sleazy Pope Julius II; grumpy and smelly Michelangelo; thoroughly modern, unflappable Bee; Juno, the charming cat of the title. The most compelling character, however, if Renaissance Rome itself—complicated, immediate, and fully realized in sounds, smells, intrigue, squalor, brio, and opulence. Murdock is as at home in that world as she was in the Middle Ages of her Newbery Honor-winning Book of Boy (rev. 7/18). SARAH ELLIS

Praise & Reviews

School Library Journal

Gr 5-8–Newbery Honor winner Murdoch’s middle grade novel is an engaging adventure story with a lot of time traveling. Bee and Frederico are two children from different time periods—Frederico is from 16th-century Rome, while Bee lives in current-day New Jersey. They are brought together through a mysterious magical wardrobe and an adventurous time-traveling cat. Their quest is to rewrite the past to save the future, and the cat shows them the way, revealing how to use a time machine. Murdoch will captivate ­readers with her knowledge of ­medieval Europe and the city of Rome, and her vivid depictions of each character’s distinct lifestyles. Readers may be surprised by the contrasts between Bee’s and Frederico’s perceptions of gender roles and certain cultural expectations. As a modern-day girl, Bee’s appearance and behaviors intitially strike Frederico as foreign—but Frederico soon learns that girls can be just as empowered and outspoken as boys, and that it is a good thing. Character’s skin tones are not described. VERDICT This time-travelling friendship book will be a hit for fans of C.S. Lewis’s The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and Lloyd Alexander’s Time Cat.–Lisa Gieskes, Richland County P.L., Columbia, SC

Horn Book

In an original combination of portal fantasy, historical fiction, and time-travel with a hint of alt-history, this story, set in 1511, centers on (real-life historical figure) Federico II Gongaza. When eleven-year-old Federica, confined to Rome as a hostage of the pope, discovers a time-travel wardrobe constructed by Leonardo da Vinci, the fun begins. Bee, also eleven, has stepped into the wardrobe in present-day New Jersey and hurtled back in time five hundred years. The two kids meet and forge a common goal: to convince the painter Raphael to draw a portrait of Bee while also persuading Michelangelo to continue work on the Sistine Chapel. Bee’s motives are to save an elderly friend back home; Federico’s are bound up with survival and politics, but really he just wants a friend. It’s an intricate plot, macrame-like in its action and logic, but as Bee says, “Just go with me. This is what happens in time travel.” The narrative is rich in characters—Federico, equal parts arrogance and vulnerability; sleazy Pope Julius II; grumpy and smelly Michelangelo; thoroughly modern, unflappable Bee; Juno, the charming cat of the title. The most compelling character, however, if Renaissance Rome itself—complicated, immediate, and fully realized in sounds, smells, intrigue, squalor, brio, and opulence. Murdock is as at home in that world as she was in the Middle Ages of her Newbery Honor-winning Book of Boy (rev. 7/18). SARAH ELLIS

Grades 2-6
Fantasy/Science Fiction Elementary Plus
For Grades 2-6

Your elementary readers will thrill to new futures, fantasy realms and alternate realities. Look forward to discovering a new world monthly with the 12 books in this category.

14 books per Year
$213.50 per Year
Interests
Chapter Books,Fiction,Reluctant Readers
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Grades 2-6
Fantasy/Science Fiction Elementary Plus
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