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The Cay


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About the Author

Theodore Taylor wrote several award-winning books, including The Cay, which won the Lewis Carroll Shelf Award and was made into a movie. He began his writing career at the age of thirteen and continued on from there--books, articles, scripts--often several projects at once. He passed away in 2006 surrounded by his family, his books, and years of wonderful memories.


Gr 5-8-This is a classic novel about racism and a young man's realization that skin color does not matter. Phillip is an 11-year-old living in the West Indies at the start of World War II. He's excited at the idea of being in the war but is taken away by his mother who only wants to return to the safety of Virginia. Their ship is sunk by the Germans, and Phillip and his mother end up on separate life rafts. After being hit on the head with a beam from the sinking ship, Phillip awakens to find himself alone with Timothy, an old black ship hand, and Stew Cat, the ship's tomcat. The three survive on a raft for several days, during which time Phillip loses his eyesight due to the head injury. They eventually come ashore on a small unpopulated island. Phillip must learn to deal with his blindness and overcome his dislike for Timothy. Phillip's question, "Timothy, are you still black?," shows that Phillip has moved past the barrier of color. After Timothy's death, Phillip continues to live on the island and is eventually rescued and reunited with his parents. This audio version of Theodore Taylor's novel (Doubleday, 1987) is well done, with actor Michael Boatman doing a wonderful job of giving the characters individual voices. The West Indian dialect is smooth. At the end of the novel, there's an author Q&A featuring an interview with Taylor in which he talks about the inspirations for his characters and his travels. An excellent purchase for middle and high school libraries.-Lisa D. Williams, Chocowinity Middle School, NC Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

Praise for The Cay

"Mr. Taylor has provided an exciting story...The idea that all humanity would benefit from this special form of color blindness permeates the whole book...The result is a story with a high ethical purpose but no sermon."--New York Times Book Review "A taut tightly compressed story of endurance and revelation...At once barbed and tender, tense and fragile--as Timothy would say, 'outrageous good.'"--Kirkus Reviews * "Fully realized setting...artful, unobtrusive use of dialect...the representation of a hauntingly deep love, the poignancy of which is rarely achieved in children's literature."--School Library Journal, Starred "Starkly dramatic, believable and compelling."--Saturday Review

"A tense and moving experience in reading."--Publishers Weekly

"Eloquently underscores the intrinsic brotherhood of man."--Booklist This is one of the best survival stories since Robinson Crusoe.--The Washington Star - A New York Times Best Book of the Year
- A School Library Journal Best Book of the Year
- A Horn Book Honor Book
- An American Library Association Notable Book
- A Publishers Weekly Children's Book to Remember
- A Child Study Association's Pick of Children's Books of the Year
- Jane Addams Book Award
- Lewis Carroll Shelf Award
- Commonwealth Club of California: Literature Award
- Southern California Council on Literature for Children and Young People Award
- Woodward School Annual Book Award
- Friends of the Library Award, University of California at Irvine

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