Why We Chose This Book: Ketzel, the Cat Who Composed

Ketzel, the Cat Who Composed, is an adorable, whimsical tale about the unlikely friendship and collaboration between Moshe, a composer, and his rescued kitten, Ketzel. A 2016 Sydney Taylor Book Award Gold Medal winner in the Younger Readers category, the book was a natural fit for PJ Library . The story is playful, inspiring, beautifully illustrated, and true! We thought children and parents alike would love reading about the real-life cat who composed an award-winning song by walking back and forth across a piano.

When Moshe first discovers a small kitten in his busy neighborhood, he says: “I will take you home and we will make beautiful music together,” beginning a loving friendship and unlikely collaboration. Though they live in a busy, noisy, city, Moshe and Ketzel find music in their surroundings. The Book Selection Committee was charmed by the magic relationship between Ketzel and Moshe and thought families would be too.

Ketzel also seamlessly weaves important Jewish values about intentionality, creativity, and kindness into the overall narrative. Moshe’s joy in the sounds around him and dedication to creating beautiful music is an example of tikkun olam or repairing the world. To repair the world means that we work to make it a better place. We can do that by using our creative gifts to their fullest potential, as Moshe does when he writes music with Ketzel. Small children use their imaginations to create every day--in their drawings, the games they play, the songs they make up, and the stories they share with the adults in their life. We hope Ketzel inspires children and their parents to keep creating, making, and sharing together.
Named for the author of the celebrated All-of-a Kind family series, the Sydney Taylor Book Award honors the best Jewish books for children and young readers. In addition to Ketzel, the Cat Who Composed, several other PJ Library selections received awards and honorable mentions. To learn more, click here.