Book about Italian apprentice making fountain for stray cats.
June 17, 2014 9:34 AM Subscribe
Ok, I could have sworn I read this book multiple times when I was a kid, but nobody seems to remember it exists including my cat-loving, children's literature professor mom who gave it to me. I'll try to list every thing I can remember about it in the extended explanation. To summarize, it takes place in an Italian town where a young-fountain-making apprentice wants to make his own fountain so that all the stray cats around him will have some place to drink. As he is poor, he cobbles together the material from things he can find, and in the end I do believe he ends up making the fountain. My mom and the internet don't seem to remember this book, but I think it did exist. Maybe you guys will come up with something.
In the no particular order, this is what I can and cannot remember:
I cannot remember if this book was originally written in Italian or not. At the very least, I know that I read it in English.
I don't remember if it took place in Rome or another Italian city. It was at least a city renowned for its fountains.
I believe (90% sure) this was at least light-novel length if not longer; it wasn't simply a short picture book. It may have had chapter pictures, but it was a novel, I'm almost positive.
The main character is a boy/teenager, who I think is an apprentice to a fountain builder. He befriends all the cats around and laments that there's no fountain in the nearby square for them to drink out of. No one is interested in building a fountain, so he decides to build one himself.
I remember the following very clearly. Since he's poor, he has to scrape together the materials from what he can find. He finds a little excess cement left over from other fountain projects. To decorate the fountains he uses broken bottle shards to add colorful embellishment to the fountain.
Believe it or not, that's all I can definitively remember after 20+ years. The fountain was for the cats, so "cat" might be in the title, but I'm just guessing there. It made the point about how big a deal the fountains in the city were, so I imagine the apprentice was laughed at or scorned for trying to build his own fountain with his experience and the bits and pieces he had available. His master might have said he could do it, but he's have to procure everything he needed for himself. This is all extremely hazy.
To summarize: Italy, cats, fountain made by young boy or teenager by himself for cats
I've been searching for years for this book, and it's too clear in my mind to think that I dreamed this. I hope you guys have some sort of lead. Thanks.