|Da Vinci's cat|
Author: Murdock, Catherine Gilbert
Using a mysterious wardrobe that allows them to travel through time, two eleven-year-olds, Federico a boy from the Italian Renaissance and Bee a girl from present-day New Jersey, work together to prevent the bickering between two great artists from changing the future.
Kirkus Reviews (+) (04/01/21)
School Library Journal (05/01/21)
Booklist (+) (04/15/21)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (A) (00/05/21)
The Hornbook (00/05/21)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 04/15/2021 *Starred Review* After receiving a Newbery Honor for The Book of Boy (2018), Murdock returns to the historical fiction genre, this time mixing things up with time travel (thanks to a clever wardrobe built by Leonardo da Vinci) and an art mystery. Murdock keeps her story fresh with tight, fast-paced writing that incorporates history by bringing it engagingly to life and tying it meaningfully to the present. The piece of history in question? Rome, 1511, when 11-year-old Federico (a duke’s son) is being held as a political hostage by the pope. Despite being a prisoner, Federico is relatively free to wander the papal palace, including the Sistine Chapel, where the curmudgeonly and supremely unhygienic Michelangelo is painting his famous ceiling, and the study, where Raphael created Federico’s own portrait. It is, nonetheless, a lonely existence and why haughty yet likable Federico is happy to find a discarded wardrobe that produces, first, a tawny cat; second, Herbert Bother, an art buyer from New Jersey, 1928; and third, Bee, an 11-year-old girl from present-day Brooklyn, who has stumbled upon an impossible Raphael sketch of herself. Murdock gives readers plenty to puzzle over as Bee and Federico work to fulfill promises and reshape events for the better. Spot art from Zelinsky will appear in the final edition of this inspired foray into the Renaissance and beyond. - Copyright 2021 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 05/01/2021 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 - Copyright 2021 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.