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Da Vinci's Cat

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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. Newbery Honor author Catherine Gilbert Murdock’s Da Vinci’s Cat is a thrilling, time-slip fantasy about rewriting history to save the present. This inventive novel will 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. Newbery Honor author Catherine Gilbert Murdock’s Da Vinci’s Cat is a thrilling, time-slip fantasy about rewriting history to save the present. This inventive novel will engross anyone who loved When You Reach Me and A Wrinkle in Time. Federico doesn’t mind being a political hostage in the Pope’s palace, 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 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 a neighbor shows Bee a sketch that perfectly resembles her, Bee, freaked out, solidifies her resolve to keep to herself. But then she meets a friendly 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 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 about the art, artists, and history that inspired the novel .


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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. Newbery Honor author Catherine Gilbert Murdock’s Da Vinci’s Cat is a thrilling, time-slip fantasy about rewriting history to save the present. This inventive novel will 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. Newbery Honor author Catherine Gilbert Murdock’s Da Vinci’s Cat is a thrilling, time-slip fantasy about rewriting history to save the present. This inventive novel will engross anyone who loved When You Reach Me and A Wrinkle in Time. Federico doesn’t mind being a political hostage in the Pope’s palace, 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 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 a neighbor shows Bee a sketch that perfectly resembles her, Bee, freaked out, solidifies her resolve to keep to herself. But then she meets a friendly 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 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 about the art, artists, and history that inspired the novel .

30 review for Da Vinci's Cat

  1. 5 out of 5

    Charlotte

    I really enjoyed this; it checked many boxes--Renaissance Italy, a lovely cat, art, friendship, and of course time travel. Lots of nice details about both quotidian and wonderful things, and I really liked the two kids.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Leonard Kim

    This was good, but I wish I liked it more unreservedly. I can understand starting with Federico, but because he is somewhat unsympathetic at first and this is written in the 3rd person, I wasn’t that engaged by the book’s voice and characterizations, even though these should have been strengths (as Murdock has repeatedly shown in her best books.) Eventually, I was drawn in, but by the plot more than the writing (though I found the two brief, parallel climaxes effective and moving). I confess I d This was good, but I wish I liked it more unreservedly. I can understand starting with Federico, but because he is somewhat unsympathetic at first and this is written in the 3rd person, I wasn’t that engaged by the book’s voice and characterizations, even though these should have been strengths (as Murdock has repeatedly shown in her best books.) Eventually, I was drawn in, but by the plot more than the writing (though I found the two brief, parallel climaxes effective and moving). I confess I didn’t really understand what happened in the last chapter.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Caroline Lancaster

    This book has a great plot and I really liked it except there is one minor thing that I strongly disagreed with but other than that I really liked it!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Lynn

    An enchanting and intriguing story set in the 1500's and the present, featuring a noble young hostage to the Pope, a young girl just moving into a new house, famous artists and the mysterious cat and closet that connects them all. I was absolutely enchanted by this wonderful story that is packed with historical figures and backed with terrific research. It is uncommon to have a time travel for middle grade readers and Murdock does it wonderfully! The details of both settings are vivid and the his An enchanting and intriguing story set in the 1500's and the present, featuring a noble young hostage to the Pope, a young girl just moving into a new house, famous artists and the mysterious cat and closet that connects them all. I was absolutely enchanted by this wonderful story that is packed with historical figures and backed with terrific research. It is uncommon to have a time travel for middle grade readers and Murdock does it wonderfully! The details of both settings are vivid and the historical and cultural background necessary for young readers is provided seamlessly. Sympathetic characters are at the heart of this story but the mindblowing aspects of time travel power the plot and enhance the tension. I love time travel but I often feel as if I need to use a chart to keep things straight in my mind! Murdock handles the intricacies and details so well and young readers encountering a time travel plot for the first time will be in great hands here. They still may want a chart ;-) There is plenty of humor provided by the two protagonists' encounters with centuries of difference in culture, manners and clothing. The introduction of the famous art and artists is one of the highlights here and will certainly send many young readers to look up the artists and their works involved in the story. Juno, Da Vinci's cat and the time traveling closet are such a clever device and Murdock incorporates them in a brilliantly effective way. I absolutely adored this book! It will make a first rate read aloud for classrooms and a joy to hand to kids looking for something a little different.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Don

    (FROM MY BLOG) Sir Federico Gonzaga is the son of the Duke of Mantua. He has been held hostage in the Vatican by Pope Julius II, in order to ensure the continued loyalty of the Duke. Sir Federico has a fine eye for ranks of nobility, for court etiquette, and for proper dress. We would call him arrogant, but he is acting as he has been brought up. He feels a strong duty to maintain the dignity of his father and of his family. Sir Federico is also lonely and bored. He has many important acquaintanc (FROM MY BLOG) Sir Federico Gonzaga is the son of the Duke of Mantua. He has been held hostage in the Vatican by Pope Julius II, in order to ensure the continued loyalty of the Duke. Sir Federico has a fine eye for ranks of nobility, for court etiquette, and for proper dress. We would call him arrogant, but he is acting as he has been brought up. He feels a strong duty to maintain the dignity of his father and of his family. Sir Federico is also lonely and bored. He has many important acquaintances -- the pope himself plays backgammon with him, and is often enraged when he loses -- but he has no true friends. This is understandable, because Sir Federico is only eleven years old. A child surviving in a court of intrigue. The boy makes his first friend when he opens a large, ornate box and meets a lively, friendly, and intelligent kitten. The two are inseparable, until the kitten walks back into the box and disappears. Federico is devastated, but the kitten emerges again, a short time later, as a fully grown, elegant cat. Federico fears witchcraft. But the reality is even stranger. The box is a time machine, one crafted -- we eventually learn -- by Leonardo da Vinci as a gift for the King of France. Thus begins Da Vinci's Cat (2021), a novel apparently aimed at middle school students, by Catherine Gilbert Murdock. The plot is perhaps too elementary, and the human relations too superficially described, to serve as an adult novel (but not perhaps as a sci-fi or fantasy novel). And yet, it appeals to adults (to this one, in any event), while it may seem too rich in history and art to be accessible (or of interest) to the typical middle school reader. Leonardo himself plays little additional part in the story. But Federico is close friends with Raphael (elegant, charming, popular) and is tactfully diplomatic with Michelangelo (ugly, hostile, jealous, and -- as Federico repeatedly reminds us -- he stinks). The time is the early sixteenth century. Michelangelo is painting the Sistine Chapel ceiling, and Raphael is doing the papal apartments. (Federico brags that Raphael painted him as a beautiful young boy and inserted him into his School of Athens masterpiece.) The boy views Pope Julius II as just another egotistical Renaissance aristocrat, the head of one of the most powerful Italian states. He hardly touches on the pope's religious leadership. As he observes during a service in the Sistine Chapel, below Michelangelo's scaffolding:His Holiness promptly went to sleep as he usually did during ceremonies. Federico could not hear the priests for the pope's snoring. And that may have been an accurate assessment of Julius II's priorities. According to Wikipedia, Julius II "left a significant cultural and political legacy." No mention of his personal sanctity. The plot thickens. From the same box from which the cat had stepped appears an American from the year 1928."I am Sir Federico of Mantua." "Pleased to meet you Sir Federico. Herbert Bother of New Jersey. Call me Herbert." Federico found Herbert's Italian appalling, but then he was from New Jersey. But despite initial dislike, he soon adopts Herbert as his second friend, after the cat. We also are introduced to Beatrice, or Bea, also from America -- but from America in our own time -- a young girl Federico's age. Bea becomes a protagonist along with Federico, and some of the chapters are told from her point of view. Stir these odd characters together with the concept of time travel, and you end with a plot that is interesting enough to keep you reading. But the better reason for reading Da Vinci's Cat is the picture Ms. Murdock paints of Renaissance Rome, as seen both through Federico's contemporary eyes, and through the astonished eyes of visitors from the twentieth century: The Vatican, a century before the completion of the modern St. Peter's (first planned by Julius II himself). The darkness and danger of the Roman streets at night. The smells. The jousting for advantage by both nobles and artists, all seeking the pope's favor. The policing power of the newly formed Swiss Guards. The mutual jealousies of all those competing artists whose names loom large in Art 101. Most of the background is accurate. As the author notes at the end, Federico was a real kid, born in 1510 in Mantua. A kid who really was a hostage of Pope Julius II for three years. He may or may not be the young boy painted in Rafael's The School of Athens -- but the author is convinced he is. The personalities and characteristics of Michelangelo ("he stinks") and Raphael (charming and popular) were actually more or less as described. Leonardo was a scientific genius as well as an artist. As Murdock notes, tongue in cheek:Perhaps he invented a time machine, but since many of his notebooks have been lost, we'll never know for sure.So, I ask again. Will middle school kids enjoy the book? Some, probably. I'm not sure how I would have reacted to it at that age. It may presume more historical and artistic background than I had in middle school. Although what seventh grader can resist a heroine about whom it is written: "Also she really needed to pee. No one in books ever talked about pee." Federico is arrogant, but he was an aristocrat. He has a good heart, and becomes increasingly likeable. (Anyone who loves a cat is just dandy in my book.) Bea discovers a painting of Federico as an adult in a modern encyclopedia -- he had a distinguished career as Duke of Mantua and as a patron of the arts. It's not mentioned in this middle school novel, but Federico died at the age of 40 of syphilis.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Erica

    A little time travel, a little mystery, and a classic cat make this a fun read! A young boy, Frederico stumbles upon a time machine and Leonardo Davinci's traveling cat, Juno. With a huge challenge in front of him he must figure out how to use the cat, art, and time traveling box to save the past and the present. Lots of great historical details about Michaelangelo and Rafael too! A little time travel, a little mystery, and a classic cat make this a fun read! A young boy, Frederico stumbles upon a time machine and Leonardo Davinci's traveling cat, Juno. With a huge challenge in front of him he must figure out how to use the cat, art, and time traveling box to save the past and the present. Lots of great historical details about Michaelangelo and Rafael too!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Beth Mendelsohn

    I received this e-ARC from NetGalley and Greenwillow Books in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. This middle grade book is a cross of Back to the Future and Narnia set in Rome of 1511. It begins with young Federico, the young duke of Mantua, being held as a political hostage by Pope Julius II. He is lonely and things pick up when a kitten suddenly appears in a wardrobe that was gifted to the pope. The kitten goes back into the wardrobe and comes right back out as a full-grown I received this e-ARC from NetGalley and Greenwillow Books in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. This middle grade book is a cross of Back to the Future and Narnia set in Rome of 1511. It begins with young Federico, the young duke of Mantua, being held as a political hostage by Pope Julius II. He is lonely and things pick up when a kitten suddenly appears in a wardrobe that was gifted to the pope. The kitten goes back into the wardrobe and comes right back out as a full-grown cat. Turns out that the wardrobe was designed by Leonardo da Vinci! Soon a man exits the wardrobe and, in his poor Italian, says he’s from New Jersey in 1928. None of this makes sense to Federico but soon things will get even more confusing. In the next section, we are in modern times and introduced to Bee, who finds the cat in an old woman’s house in New Jersey and follows it into the wardrobe. Bee, who has learned Italian and knows about Michelangelo and Raphael, now finds herself in Renaissance Rome and timelines have changed. Will Bee and Federico be able to correct history? There aren’t a ton of time-travel books written for this age group – even less with an art history lesson, although fans of The Magic Tree House and The Time Warp Trio, I think will particularly appreciate this. I liked the concept although the plot did seem to drag a bit in spots. Overall, I did enjoy the book and think it will appeal to those who are fond of adventure. I would recommend for grades 3 through 7. #DaVincisCat #NetGalley

  8. 4 out of 5

    Skip

    A genre mash-up, made possible by time travel in a wardrobe built by da Vinci. Federico is a political hostage in the Pope’s palace (in the 1500s), to ensure his father's loyalty as leader of the Pope's Army. But, he's lonely until he makes friends with a time-traveling cat named Juno. Oddly, Juno is sometimes appears as a kitten and sometimes a cat. Then, Federico meets Herbert, an art collector from the future, and they barter exchanging a sketch signed by Raphael for chocolate. We then meet a A genre mash-up, made possible by time travel in a wardrobe built by da Vinci. Federico is a political hostage in the Pope’s palace (in the 1500s), to ensure his father's loyalty as leader of the Pope's Army. But, he's lonely until he makes friends with a time-traveling cat named Juno. Oddly, Juno is sometimes appears as a kitten and sometimes a cat. Then, Federico meets Herbert, an art collector from the future, and they barter exchanging a sketch signed by Raphael for chocolate. We then meet a young girl named Bee in New Jersey, who is summering next to Federico's adopted daughter, who is elderly. Mysteriously, the neighbor has a centuries-old sketch of someone who looks exactly like Bee. When the neighbor has a fall, Bee goes to help and finds herself transported to the Vatican, where she and Federico want Raphael to sign the sketch. There is much animosity between the artists, Raphael and Michelangelo, but the two youngsters show bravery and fortitude. There are some rough spots in the book, which are likely to annoy adults more than the target audience of middle school readers.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Andrew

    Perhaps you have heard the theories of renowned artist Leonardo Da Vinci being a time traveler... well, he doesn't in this book, but his cat does. In 1511 Rome, Fredrico is living in the Pope's palace, and he often gets to observe the intense rivalry between Michelangelo and Raphael. One day He finds an adorable orange cat in a mysterious wardrobe, and later an eccentric American man from 1923 comes barreling through too-- an art collector named Herbert, who claims the cat's name is Juno, and on Perhaps you have heard the theories of renowned artist Leonardo Da Vinci being a time traveler... well, he doesn't in this book, but his cat does. In 1511 Rome, Fredrico is living in the Pope's palace, and he often gets to observe the intense rivalry between Michelangelo and Raphael. One day He finds an adorable orange cat in a mysterious wardrobe, and later an eccentric American man from 1923 comes barreling through too-- an art collector named Herbert, who claims the cat's name is Juno, and once belonged to Da Vinci. A girl named Bee from present-day American also finds her way into the wardrobe, investigating an unearthed Raphael sketch that resembles her perfectly. Da Vinci's Cat is a fast-paced, time-traveling, timeline-altering adventure that readers of historical fiction and sci-fi are sure to love! If Juno had anything to add, it would probably be her signature CATchphrase: "Mrow".

  10. 4 out of 5

    Julie Stielstra

    As a lover of cats and art history, I had high hopes for this story. They were not fulfilled. The author clearly has done an enormous amount of research to get the details of early 16th-century Rome right, and then falls victim to the temptation to write them ALL into every page - every dish at several banquets, every item of clothing worn. The writing is often repetitive: she tells us multiple times in a single scene that Michelangelo stinks. She tells us - over and over - that Federico wants a As a lover of cats and art history, I had high hopes for this story. They were not fulfilled. The author clearly has done an enormous amount of research to get the details of early 16th-century Rome right, and then falls victim to the temptation to write them ALL into every page - every dish at several banquets, every item of clothing worn. The writing is often repetitive: she tells us multiple times in a single scene that Michelangelo stinks. She tells us - over and over - that Federico wants a friend. Paradoxically, there are elements of the art and artists and assumptions that *I* (as an adult art history grad) "got" that I'm not sure the intended middle-grade reader would, or would find terribly appealing. When the setting and characters shifted to present-day America, the carpentry just broke down and I bailed. Clumsy writing, tenuous plot machinery, and charmless characters... just didn't work for me.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Libby

    I found this book rather confusing, probably not surprising for a book about time travel. For the first eight chapters, we're in the past as seen through the eyes of Federico, a young "hostage" of the pope, kept at the palace to ensure his father's loyalty. Overall, not a hard life although he misses his family. Just as I was figuring out who was who in this time period and beginning to connect with Federico as a character, we switched to the present, where Bee is traveling with one of her moms I found this book rather confusing, probably not surprising for a book about time travel. For the first eight chapters, we're in the past as seen through the eyes of Federico, a young "hostage" of the pope, kept at the palace to ensure his father's loyalty. Overall, not a hard life although he misses his family. Just as I was figuring out who was who in this time period and beginning to connect with Federico as a character, we switched to the present, where Bee is traveling with one of her moms to the house where she will be spending the summer. The switching of the story in time was confusing enough; I found the switching points of views didn't help my engagement with the story. While I did enjoy the historical setting, I liked her "The Book of Boy" much better. Review based on an E-ARC received through Edelweiss.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Patti Sabik

    Blending historical fiction, time travel, and real-life "who-knew" facts about Renaissance life and art Murdock conjures up an adventurous and entertaining race to save the time continuum in "Da Vinci's Cat." I found this historical fiction offering much more engaging than Murdock's "The Book of Boy" for which I couldn't find the right reader. This book, while fun in it's own right, has characters such as Michelangelo and Ruben who are familiar artists to most middle schoolers. I found protagoni Blending historical fiction, time travel, and real-life "who-knew" facts about Renaissance life and art Murdock conjures up an adventurous and entertaining race to save the time continuum in "Da Vinci's Cat." I found this historical fiction offering much more engaging than Murdock's "The Book of Boy" for which I couldn't find the right reader. This book, while fun in it's own right, has characters such as Michelangelo and Ruben who are familiar artists to most middle schoolers. I found protagonists Bee and Federico to be well-formed and likeable with complimentary personalities. The fact that Federico was a real-life historical figure added considerably to the texture of the story. Truly enjoyed the author's note and would use it as a foundation for a book talk to promote the book to students.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Kim McGee

    I am biased because the book is based on some of my favorite artists but the combination of time travel and Renaissance history is a delightful journey. It starts with a cat who travels through a wardrobe to be adopted by a young man held hostage in the Pope's palace in Rome. When Frederico befriends a strange man who also comes through the wardrobe, the fun begins. Stolen art , petty artists and another time traveler who just wants to help her neighbor back home in New Jersey all play a role in I am biased because the book is based on some of my favorite artists but the combination of time travel and Renaissance history is a delightful journey. It starts with a cat who travels through a wardrobe to be adopted by a young man held hostage in the Pope's palace in Rome. When Frederico befriends a strange man who also comes through the wardrobe, the fun begins. Stolen art , petty artists and another time traveler who just wants to help her neighbor back home in New Jersey all play a role in setting history to right. A wonderful pick for middle grade readers raised on the Magic Treehouse books or Blue Balliet's art mysteries will dive into this historical mystery with a twist. My thanks to the publisher for the advance copy.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Mary

    A delightful time traveling novel for middle grade readers set in 1511 that involves Leonardo Da Vinci's cat and his time machine. Eleven year old Bee who lives in present day New Jersey finds the time machine and her portrait that was painted by the Renaissance painter Raphael. To solve the mystery, Bee must go back in time where she meets eleven year old Federico Gonzaga. Although there is plenty of Renaissance art history embedded in the story, there is also plenty of suspense that will have A delightful time traveling novel for middle grade readers set in 1511 that involves Leonardo Da Vinci's cat and his time machine. Eleven year old Bee who lives in present day New Jersey finds the time machine and her portrait that was painted by the Renaissance painter Raphael. To solve the mystery, Bee must go back in time where she meets eleven year old Federico Gonzaga. Although there is plenty of Renaissance art history embedded in the story, there is also plenty of suspense that will have readers concerned about the eventual outcome for Bee and Federico and the ramifications of messing around with time. Recommended for readers who like stories about cats, artists, friendships, Renaissance history, or the book From the Mixed-Up Files of Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    Murdock's travels and research about Italy and art led her to write a middle grade book about a boy named Federico who was held hostage by a pope in the 1500's and his encounters with the great artists Raphael and Michelangelo, and also his related adventures with modern girl Bee, who he meets through a time -travelling closet created by Leonardo Da Vinci. In typical fashion, the kids need to fix the past to ensure both of their futures. The formulaic plot is enlivened by the artistic details an Murdock's travels and research about Italy and art led her to write a middle grade book about a boy named Federico who was held hostage by a pope in the 1500's and his encounters with the great artists Raphael and Michelangelo, and also his related adventures with modern girl Bee, who he meets through a time -travelling closet created by Leonardo Da Vinci. In typical fashion, the kids need to fix the past to ensure both of their futures. The formulaic plot is enlivened by the artistic details and hopefully some young readers will find a new interest in classic art, at least enough to look up pictures by some of the greats that are characters in the book. Review from galley.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Janice Liu

    I loved this so much! It's funny and sweet, historically intriguing with a dash of time travel. Federico seems obnoxious at first, but then you remember that he's being held hostage and apart from his family, and you really get a sense of how lonely he is and how much he yearns for a friend. Bee has two moms, and it's not a huge deal - it's just a nice little detail. Almost all the characters (except for that grouch Michelangelo) are just kind and wholesome. And I love the fact that kids can res I loved this so much! It's funny and sweet, historically intriguing with a dash of time travel. Federico seems obnoxious at first, but then you remember that he's being held hostage and apart from his family, and you really get a sense of how lonely he is and how much he yearns for a friend. Bee has two moms, and it's not a huge deal - it's just a nice little detail. Almost all the characters (except for that grouch Michelangelo) are just kind and wholesome. And I love the fact that kids can research the artists and historical figures mentioned in the book afterwards, and find the places that overlap with the story.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Tina Athaide

    In this charming, intriguingly plotted novel. Federico, in sixteenth-century Rome, and Bee, in present-day New Jersey are linked through an interesting cat, Leonardo Da Vinci’s mysterious wardrobe, and a sketch that perfectly resembles Bee. Readers will be captured by this compelling, time travel story full of adventure, art, history, and friendship. I highly recommend this book for teachers looking to stir the imaginations of the readers and writers in their classrooms. This book is perfect for In this charming, intriguingly plotted novel. Federico, in sixteenth-century Rome, and Bee, in present-day New Jersey are linked through an interesting cat, Leonardo Da Vinci’s mysterious wardrobe, and a sketch that perfectly resembles Bee. Readers will be captured by this compelling, time travel story full of adventure, art, history, and friendship. I highly recommend this book for teachers looking to stir the imaginations of the readers and writers in their classrooms. This book is perfect for grades 5-7, and also as a read aloud for lower grades.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Shey (sheyslibrary)

    As someone who loves whimsical middle-grade novels and as an art historian who primarily deals with Renaissance/early modern art, I had such high hopes for this book. Unfortunately, it didn't quite live up to them. Following only Fredrico in the first section made me almost DNF the book. He was incredibly obnoxious and, while it set him up for a nice character arc, it didn't prevent me from thoroughly disliking his portion of the book. However, I latched onto Bee, the other main character, as so As someone who loves whimsical middle-grade novels and as an art historian who primarily deals with Renaissance/early modern art, I had such high hopes for this book. Unfortunately, it didn't quite live up to them. Following only Fredrico in the first section made me almost DNF the book. He was incredibly obnoxious and, while it set him up for a nice character arc, it didn't prevent me from thoroughly disliking his portion of the book. However, I latched onto Bee, the other main character, as soon as she was introduced. She's a quirky young girl with two mothers and an abundance of curiosity. I appreciated the casual queer rep in the book and that even Frederico in 16th century Italy didn't question it when Bee told him she had two moms. It's always hard reviewing middle-grade books because I realize that I am not the target audience. However, I have read plenty of middle-grade novels that I felt worked just as well for adults as they did for children. Thus, as an older reader, some elements of this book bothered me more than they might a younger reader. The first major complaint I have is the inconsistent way that time travel worked in this book. Second, for being a book about artists, there is very little description of art (or the setting at all for that matter) in its pages. Though I wouldn't recommend this to an adult like I would some other middle-grade novels, it does seem like something a younger audience might enjoy. However, I wouldn't give it to a younger reader expecting them to get much out of it thematically. Rather, it's just a fun romp of a book that they might get a kick out of and possibly spark their interest in the Renaissance and/or art history.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Bonnie

    A fun book, that I would have LOVED at a kid. Lots of historical information and setting details. Michaelangelo and Rafael play significant parts of the story. Add in time travel, a little mystery, and a classic cat making this a fun read! A young boy, Frederico (loosely based on a real person) id being held as a hostage by the Pope. He stumbles upon a time machine, Bee, a girl from the 20th century and Leonardo Davinci's traveling cat, Juno. Problems arise, as they often do where time travel is A fun book, that I would have LOVED at a kid. Lots of historical information and setting details. Michaelangelo and Rafael play significant parts of the story. Add in time travel, a little mystery, and a classic cat making this a fun read! A young boy, Frederico (loosely based on a real person) id being held as a hostage by the Pope. He stumbles upon a time machine, Bee, a girl from the 20th century and Leonardo Davinci's traveling cat, Juno. Problems arise, as they often do where time travel is involved, and Fred and Bee must figure out how to save the past and the present.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    This book should have been a slam dunk for me and it just wasn't. Time travel, Renaissance artists, cats. The plot is convoluted, the initial character is pretty unlikeable, and needed far better editing. I almost DNFed this as an adult with a strong interest in this topic. I am really struggling to see who this was written for because I can't think of one regular in my library who I would recommend this to. More specifically, I cannot think of any middle schooler who would be continuously engaged This book should have been a slam dunk for me and it just wasn't. Time travel, Renaissance artists, cats. The plot is convoluted, the initial character is pretty unlikeable, and needed far better editing. I almost DNFed this as an adult with a strong interest in this topic. I am really struggling to see who this was written for because I can't think of one regular in my library who I would recommend this to. More specifically, I cannot think of any middle schooler who would be continuously engaged by the writing.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Alli

    Thank you NetGalley for this eARC! Da Vinci’s Cat is a cute time travel story that centers on two 12 year olds- Federico in 1511 Rome, and Bee in modern New Jersey. Thanks to a mysterious cabinet designed by Leonardo da Vinci, though, the two end up on a mission to “make everything good.” The author wrote this book You can tell the author is passionate about art history, and really brings the legendary figures of Raphael and Michelangelo to life. Middle grades readers will enjoy the silly situat Thank you NetGalley for this eARC! Da Vinci’s Cat is a cute time travel story that centers on two 12 year olds- Federico in 1511 Rome, and Bee in modern New Jersey. Thanks to a mysterious cabinet designed by Leonardo da Vinci, though, the two end up on a mission to “make everything good.” The author wrote this book You can tell the author is passionate about art history, and really brings the legendary figures of Raphael and Michelangelo to life. Middle grades readers will enjoy the silly situations that arise when a 2021 tween girl tries to communicate with a boy from 1511. There is enough adventure and twists to keep you on your toes!

  22. 5 out of 5

    Maggie

    A time-travel cabinet created by Leonardi DaVinci? A sweet, sassy kitty who moves through the centuries as smoothly as she slides through a cat door? Written by the newbery-honor winning author of the delightful Book of Boy? You can bet I jumped at the chance to read this Netgalley e-arc! And (which so rarely happens) it's every bit as good as I was hoping. This book is a winner: smart, fast-paced, and fun. Highly recommended. A time-travel cabinet created by Leonardi DaVinci? A sweet, sassy kitty who moves through the centuries as smoothly as she slides through a cat door? Written by the newbery-honor winning author of the delightful Book of Boy? You can bet I jumped at the chance to read this Netgalley e-arc! And (which so rarely happens) it's every bit as good as I was hoping. This book is a winner: smart, fast-paced, and fun. Highly recommended.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Alma

    In 1511 Rome, eleven-year-old Sir Federico of Mantua was a hostage of Pope Julius; the Sistine Chapel was being painted, while Michelangelo and Raphael were busy feuding with each other. He felt lonely until the night he met a strange man named Herbert and a cat named Juno. Read more about this historical fiction book on my blog: https://shouldireaditornot.wordpress.... In 1511 Rome, eleven-year-old Sir Federico of Mantua was a hostage of Pope Julius; the Sistine Chapel was being painted, while Michelangelo and Raphael were busy feuding with each other. He felt lonely until the night he met a strange man named Herbert and a cat named Juno. Read more about this historical fiction book on my blog: https://shouldireaditornot.wordpress....

  24. 4 out of 5

    Elaine Bearden

    gr 3-6 This is an interesting mystery. I picked it up because it had a cat and was a mystery with a time-traveling element. I wasn't totally taken in by the story at first, but kept reading because I think kids would really enjoy the mystery, time-traveling, cat, and kids solving problems of their own aspect. The size of the book, font, layout all contribute to a relaxed reading experience. Greenwillow / HarperCollins gr 3-6 This is an interesting mystery. I picked it up because it had a cat and was a mystery with a time-traveling element. I wasn't totally taken in by the story at first, but kept reading because I think kids would really enjoy the mystery, time-traveling, cat, and kids solving problems of their own aspect. The size of the book, font, layout all contribute to a relaxed reading experience. Greenwillow / HarperCollins

  25. 5 out of 5

    Cecilia Rodriguez

    Murdock's historical fantasy begins in 1511 Italy. Eleven year old Sir Federico Gonzaga is a hostage living in the palace of the Pope. When Federico discovers a kitten, he begins a time bending adventure that incorporates actual Renaissance art history. Other novels with similar theme: Time Cat by Lloyd Alexander Cat-A-list by Alan Dean Foster The Prestige by Christopher Priest Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling Murdock's historical fantasy begins in 1511 Italy. Eleven year old Sir Federico Gonzaga is a hostage living in the palace of the Pope. When Federico discovers a kitten, he begins a time bending adventure that incorporates actual Renaissance art history. Other novels with similar theme: Time Cat by Lloyd Alexander Cat-A-list by Alan Dean Foster The Prestige by Christopher Priest Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling

  26. 4 out of 5

    Joan

    While not as compelling as the author's "Book of Boy," this is still an interesting time slip fantasy children's novel. Using a mysterious wardrobe build by Leonardo 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. While not as compelling as the author's "Book of Boy," this is still an interesting time slip fantasy children's novel. Using a mysterious wardrobe build by Leonardo 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.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Yvonne Stewart

    This is a quick, pleasant listen. Children 10 and up will enjoy the time travel and appreciate the different friendships that develop in this story. It also has Renaissance history and bits of Italian. Most of the Italian words are translated immediately. Younger kids might not relate to the historical portion. Some of the accents are flawed: sometimes the Italian accent sounds British. Children could probably care less. Ciao!

  28. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    I am a huge fan of Catherine Gilbert Murdock and find her historical fiction juvenile novels to be exquisitely researched, well-written, full of fun and adventure and mystery, and filled with lots of fascinating "real" facts woven into engaging stories. This one was no exception! I enjoyed every minute! I am a huge fan of Catherine Gilbert Murdock and find her historical fiction juvenile novels to be exquisitely researched, well-written, full of fun and adventure and mystery, and filled with lots of fascinating "real" facts woven into engaging stories. This one was no exception! I enjoyed every minute!

  29. 4 out of 5

    William Dury

    Enjoyable children’s/adolescent book. I was somehow more comfortable with the renaissance court than the more modern scenes. The cat was wonderfully done, very inscrutable and feline. Found the solution to the family’s problems being $6 million a little distasteful. Just read “The Little Prince” where the idea was the most important things can’t be seen. Old fashioned idea I guess. I also guess that “The Little Prince” will have a longer shelf life than “Da Vinci’s Cat.” Good book, though. You g Enjoyable children’s/adolescent book. I was somehow more comfortable with the renaissance court than the more modern scenes. The cat was wonderfully done, very inscrutable and feline. Found the solution to the family’s problems being $6 million a little distasteful. Just read “The Little Prince” where the idea was the most important things can’t be seen. Old fashioned idea I guess. I also guess that “The Little Prince” will have a longer shelf life than “Da Vinci’s Cat.” Good book, though. You get old you get curmudgeonly. Sorry.

  30. 4 out of 5

    LS Johnson

    I will recommend this book to any reader who enjoys a time travel book, a cat lover, an art lover, even a history lover. I think it can appeal to many. It doesn’t have a lot of “stressful” moments in the plot, but is rather dialogue and character driven.

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