Picture Book Review: Scarlatti’s Cat by Nathaniel Lachenmeyer


Scarlatti’s Cat by Nathaniel Lachenmeyer and Carlyn Beccia (Illustrations)

Age Range: 2 and up

Series: Carolrhoda Picture Books

Library Binding: 32 pages

Publisher: Carolrhoda Books (March 1, 2014)

Genre: Picture Book

Source: Publisher via NetGalley

My Rating: 3 of 5 stars

About the Book:

Domenico Scarlatti, the great Italian composer, enjoys his cat’s company
when he plays harpsichord. Little does he know, his cat, Pulcinella
also dreams of composing her own music! One day, while chasing a mouse,
she tumbles onto the harpsichord. Suddenly, she can’t resist the urge to
play. When she begin to play, Scarlatti’s eyes widen… 

Find the Book:

About the Author:

I am an award-winning author of books for children and adults, and a playwright. My published books include The Boo! Book, The Origami MasterBroken Beaks, and The Outsider. My forthcoming children’s books include picture books with Carolrhoda and Eerdmans and a graphic novel with First Second, an imprint of Roaring Brook Press.

Between 2000-2007,
I presented 80+ keynotes and lectures on mental health and homeless
issues at universities, hospitals, and mental health centers across the
US, Canada, Sweden, and Australia.

Media appearances include: NPR’s “Fresh Air”, “All Things Considered Weekend Edition,” WNYC’s “The Leonard Lopate Show.” 
I live outside of Atlanta with my wife and our two wonderful, inspiring children.


About the Illustrator:

Beccia attended the University
of Massachusetts on a 4-year art scholarship and graduated in 1995. She
spent the next 10 years working as a designer and animator before
returning to her first love of illustration.

In 2005, Beccia was
the Grand Prize Portfolio Winner in the Society of Children’s Writers
& Illustrators (SCBWI) portfolio exhibition. In 2006, she was
awarded a certificate of merit in The Society of Illustrators of Los
Angeles, Illustration West 44 Annual and she was also the Grand Prize
Portfolio Winner in the New England, Society of Children’s Writers &
Illustrators (NEW ENGLAND SCBWI) portfolio exhibition. In 2008,
Beccia’s debut book, Who Put the B in the Ballyhoo? was a the Golden
Kite honor recipient for picture book illustration. In 2009, Beccia was
the winner of the International Reading Association’s 2009 Children’s
and Young Adult Book Award for Intermediate-Nonfiction.

Beccia also illustrated the Houdini and Nate Mysteries series along with
cover of Newbery winner Christopher Paul Curtis’s Elijah of Buxton .


My Thoughts:

I picked this book up because I liked the cover illustration. I read it
to my kids several times and they really liked it. It’s about a music
composer who has a cat that also loves to compose music. The cat never
gets the chance to actually play any of her music until one day when she
accidentally falls onto the harpsichord. What follows is kind of funny,
kind of sad, and totally believable if the situation were real. It’s an
entertaining story, but I did wish that it had ended differently. I
wanted more closure with Samarthi. I also wanted him to have a different
reaction to his cat’s skills.

The illustrations are what initially drew me to the book. The colors are
warm and atmospheric. They give the feel of the time period while still
maintaining a modern style that will appeal to children. There are some
drawing problems in a couple of illustrations, but in general, I liked
them. My kids liked them too, and that is the most important thing.


Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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