Sunday, May 03, 2015

OTTAVIA E I GATTI DI ROMA, di Claudia Cerulli

Ottavia e i gatti di Roma

Ottavia é una gattina adorabile col pelo marrone striato e soffice e con macchie bianche sul torace e sulle zampine. Vive a Roma con sua madre e con i suoi fratelli. Non conosce ancora la sua cittá molto bene perché è troppo piccola per uscire di casa da sola, ma non importa perché la sua casa è GRANDE! Si chiama "Colosseo" ed è uno dei più grandi monumenti romani della città. È fatto di pietre ed è alto, tondo ed ha molte porte e finestre dalle quali sì gode una magnifica vista.

Ottavia is an adorable little cat, with soft brown striped fur and white patches on her chest and paws. She lives in the city of Rome together with her mom and siblings. She hasn't seen much of her city yet, since she is still too young to be allowed outside her home. But that is not a big problem, because her house is BIG! It is called "Colosseum" and it is one of the largest Roman buildings in the city. It is made of stone and is tall, round, and has so many doors and windows that you can enjoy a great view no matter where you are.

My very brief Italian review: Mi è piaciuto molto la storia. È bella e i gattini sono carinissimi! Mi è piaciuto anche l'avventura... C'erano la gente gentili e un vecchio gatto bravissimo che ha aiutato i gattini persi. Mi manca Roma... (In English: I really liked the story. It is beautiful and the kittens are so cute! I also like the adventure... There were nice people and a great old cat that helped the lost kittens. I miss Rome...)

Ottavia e i gatti di Roma (Octavia and the Cats of Rome) by Claudia Cerulli and illustrated beautifully by Leo Lätti is a delightful bilingual children's book. I found the book on Amazon Kindle while hunting for Spanish books, and read it for free as I subscribe to Kindle Unlimited. This book is perfect for my Italian language revision and for read-aloud practice! I did not depend on the English translation as I am already fluent in the Italian language, but there are still certain new-to-me words such as rabbrividendo (shivering) and fiancheggiano (line, plural, as in "trees that line its banks").

Although rather lengthy for 3-year-olds (that is the recommended start age for this book) to read on their own, I think it is perfect for parents or older readers to read to them. The story is charming and educational. It brought back fond memories of my trip to Rome where I stayed for a month. Octavia (Ottavia) and her friend Julius (Giulio), the resident kittens of the Colosseum, have gone to all the places I've been during my trip!

The kind people of Rome who regularly feed the cats are called "Gattare" (in Italian that means "Cat Ladies"), even though there are also many men who love and feed the Roman feral cats.

Apart from the wonderful story of the two little cats (gattini) that venture out on their own to explore their city, Rome, and get lost as a result of that, it is also a fun, informative read. I particularly enjoyed the "Did You Know...?" section at the end of the book where the author points out brief interesting facts about who Octavia and Julius are, the Colosseum's history, the feral cats of Rome, and many more.

Cats are very dear to my heart and when I read that in the city of Rome live hundreds of thousands of free-to-roam feral cats and that the city protects them, I am so happy! More reasons to love Italy!

The resident kittens of the Colosseum: Giulio (orange) and Octavia

The map showing the little kittens adventure in Rome. They have covered many places in one day! I'm glad the map is included because I did think of doing one myself but I was saved from the effort because the author has already done it.

I highly recommend this book. Apart from it being a great read, the book also carries a good message of friendship and family, the kindness of strangers, and the spirit of adventure. There is no place like home!