Opera cat

Tess Weaver

Book - 2002

When the opera diva Madame SoSo gets laryngitis, her singing cat Alma fills in for her.

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Picture books
New York : Clarion Books 2002.
Physical Description
32 p. : ill
Main Author
Tess Weaver (-)
Other Authors
Andréa Wesson (illustrator)
Review by Booklist Review

Gr. 2-4, younger for reading aloud. Never has La Scala seen a more triumphant (albeit more duplicitous) debut. Having come down with laryngitis just before an impending performance, Madame SoSo is astonished and delighted when her cat Alma stands up, singing «Caro nome che il mio cor!» in «the voice of an angel, the voice of a devil. The voice of the stars and the moon, the oceans and the forests . . . so beautiful . . . so much like her own!» The rest is operatic history. Just as Madame SoSo wraps Alma up in her towering hairdo before making her grand entrance, so too, does Weaver wrap this droll tale in flights of vivid imagery--nicely set off in Wesson's simple watercolors. Even readers who know little about opera will find it hard to resist the regal but down-to-earth looking diva and her crumple-whiskered Siamese understudy. Brava! Bravi! John Peters.

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission. Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

In first-timer Weaver's exuberant tale, a quiet cat on an ordinary Saturday gets her moment in the sun. Each day, Alma hides behind the window curtains and practices along with her Italian opera singer owner. Wesson's (Not Just Another Moose) energetic black line and watercolor wash in velvety tones of aqua and scarlet capture the intensity of the Milan streets. From her window, Alma watches a mother fish her son out of a fountain while passersby purchase flowers, bread and other treats from shops along a cobblestone street. How the feline yearns to leave her apartment and experience the Milan outside her window! On opening night of the opera, Madame SoSo contracts laryngitis, and Alma sees her chance. The cat begins singing, and "Madame SoSo had never heard anything so lovely, so beautiful... [a voice] so much like her own!" Readers may guess the denouement, but that doesn't detract from the fun. Wesson's illustrations show the feline tucked into the diva's wig as she takes the stage, then scenes of the inseparable duo as they gallivant about town. Madame cuts a ridiculous figure early in the story, but redeems herself by warmly acknowledging Alma's role in her stage triumph. A delightful star-is-born story. Ages 5-8. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved Review by School Library Journal Review

PreS-Gr 2-Madame SoSo is an opera star who practices every afternoon with the maestro. What the two don't realize is that behind the curtain, Madame's cat is singing along sotto voce. Alma, with her unruly whiskers, frizzed at the tips as if she had stood too close to a flame, loves opera and knows the words to all the songs. When the star develops laryngitis, her caroling cat comes to the rescue. In order to perform without the audience knowing a feline is "Figaroing," the cat hides in Madame SoSo's spire of curls. After Alma saves the day, she attends every opera, on the off chance that her talents will again be required. The softly rendered watercolors, some with a decidedly skewed perspective, admirably tell the tale. Madame's love of flowers is reflected in the patterns of her rug, wallpaper, and clothing, and the illustration of Alma, singing her little heart out with her front paws clenched, is delightful. Children will be charmed to see a cat earn her 15 minutes of fame, even if it's done under wraps.-Maryann H. Owen, Racine Public Library, WI (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. Review by Kirkus Book Review

What's a diva to do? When Madame SoSo, opera star, succumbs to a sudden attack of laryngitis, her kitty cat collaborator comes to the rescue. Unnoticed and unappreciated by the humans in her life, Alma, no ordinary cat, has been lurking, listening, and learning each time the Maestro has visited Madame to coach her. Our fine feline friend has practiced to purrfection and with a voice like an angel (so like Madame's own) lets her owner know that she is worthy to step in. But how to pull off the switch? "Madame SoSo piled her hair into an immense tower of curls. Soon Alma was hidden and their secret was safe." An affectionate lesson about loyalty and untapped talent, Weaver's first book for children is a gentle comedy with lots of life, deftly drawn through detailed settings, sensory allusions, and just the right amount of melodrama and romance. Bold enough to be appreciated by a group, Wesson's (Jack Quack, 2001) quirky watercolor illustrations are appropriately light, colorful, and crisp, full of fanciful, pointy-nosed patrons of the arts and alive with enough behind-the-scenes action for most keen-eyed of kids. Brava! Bravissima! (Picture book. 4-8)

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.