From School Library Journal
Kindergarten-Grade 4?A lovely, lucid retelling of an Italian folktale. Papa Gatto is a clever cat who serves as an adviser to the prince. He allows himself to be misled by a pretty face when he engages an attractive young woman, Sophia, to care for his motherless kittens?she turns out to be a nasty piece of work. Later, her stepsister Beatrice proves that a beautiful character is often concealed behind a plain exterior. Papa Gatto recommends Beatrice to the prince, who is looking for a wife, and when Sophia tries to trick him into marrying her, the wise cat literally uncovers her deception. Sanderson cites several sources for her tale, and the story she weaves is faithful to them yet original. The narrative develops at a leisurely pace, and the attempted deception adds suspense. Beatrice's decision to delay marriage with the prince until she gets to know him comes across as thoughtful and natural, and the story is satisfying overall. The oil paintings glow with warm, rich tones. Sanderson pays meticulous attention to detail and captures the mood perfectly. Only the depiction of Beatrice is a little jarring; she does not appear as plain as the text indicates, but perhaps her portrayal is intended to underscore how outside opinion can influence self-perception. An unusual, well-illustrated, appealing book.?Donna L. Scanlon, Lancaster County Library, PA
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Gr. 4^-6. Papa Gatto, a feline who advises royalty, needs a nanny for his kittens. His advertisement, "Choose your payment, no amount too great," attracts the lovely but greedy Sophia, whose hiring ends in dust, cobwebs, neglected kittens, and a new advertisement that brings Beatrice, Sophia's good-hearted stepsister. The arrival of the "kind and generous prince" results in mistaken identity and romantic confusion, but all ends well, thanks to Papa Gatto's special matchmaking talent. Sanderson's elegant, richly descriptive language contributes to a smooth retelling, and her lavish oil paintings are as beautifully handled as the narrative, evoking the lush textures of the clothing and textiles, the lovely landscaped gardens, and the luxurious apartments. The characters, both human and feline, are loaded with personality, which Sanderson ably conveys through careful detailing. Several specific sources are cited for the tale, but if you have this book on hand, other versions won't be necessary. A wonderful picture book for older readers. Janice Del Negro