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For fans of Hatchet and Island of the Blue Dolphins comes Theodore Taylor's classic bestseller and Lewis Carroll Shelf Award winner, The Cay .
Phillip is excited when the Germans invade the small island of Curaçao. War has always been a game to him, and he's eager to glimpse it firsthand-until the freighter he and his mother are traveling to the United States on is torpedoed.
When Phillip comes to, he is on a small raft in the middle of the sea. Besides Stew Cat, his only companion is an old West Indian, Timothy. Phillip remembers his mother's warning about black people: "They are different, and they live differently."
But by the time the castaways arrive on a small island, Phillip's head injury has made him blind and dependent on Timothy.

"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
Edition: PB
ISBN: 9780440229124


From the critics

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Apr 08, 2018


I was very moved by this book. A wonderful story of two very different people thrown together in horrible circumstances. Even though Philip is prejudiced against the black sailor, Timothy in the beginning, they quickly form a bond. Timothy, elderly and sick, works tirelessly to teach blind Philip what he needs to know to survive, should he die.

It's a story of bonding, caring and survival.

Philip tells the story in the first person, and the ending reveals the changes his experiences have wrought.

OLATHEAllisonA Feb 06, 2018

This classic story follows a boy, an old man, and a cat as they struggle to survive after a shipwreck during World War II. The graceful prose is friendly to young readers, and the characters are authentic and memorable. Philip, Timothy, and Stew Cat are an unlikely trio, and at first, Philip's resistance to Timothy's good nature and kindness are uncomfortable to observe. When he is forced to depend on Timothy, however, Philip learns to look past the outward appearance and see the person within. Sometimes Timothy reflects the stereotype of the "wise old Negro" in his knowledge of the sea and nature, but then again, a man born and raised on islands has a lot to offer when two shipwreck survivors are trying to build a life on a cay and one of them is a 12-year-old. A message against prejudice pervades throughout without being heavy-handed, making this one just as relevant for our time as it was in 1969.

Jun 09, 2016

Fantastic book! Loved it and keeps you always wanting to read the next chapter! My favorite book of the whole school year! I don't get why others didn't like it, it's great! A must read!

rollingstock Apr 02, 2014

Only 147 pages so come on now, how painful can that be? I read it in a few hours and enjoyed it. It is what it is, a short story.

red_wolf_208 Jul 16, 2013

Great Book, a must read ;)
Don't understand how peope may not like this but oh well. If you are looking for a book to read this is for you!

Mar 05, 2013

Sorry but I HATED this book and we HAD to read it for school. I was like IS THIS DONE YET?????!!!! EVERY CHAPTER!

Jul 13, 2012

I fell asleep reading this book! I hated it a lot, but HAD to read it for school. Out of my whole class of 32 kids, ONE KID liked it. The storyline was okay, but definitely could've been better. I felt myself saying, "Okay, you only have twenty more pages left, you can do this, and then you won't ever have to see this book again."

Feb 23, 2012

I remember reading this book when I was in the 4th grade. I can still recall parts of it all these years later. I'm glad to see it's still in print.

Feb 23, 2012

We read this book as a class novel and it is amazing! It is a tragic story of a boy living in the Caribbean and sets off at sea with his mother. When suddenly the ship gets torpedoed! He has to survive on a flimsy raft with a tiny bit of chocolate for food and a small amount of water. I rate this story 5 stars because it is a great book for all ages and plus it is a classic. I would also recommend reading another classic called The Hatchet. I am only on chapter six, but is starts getting really good before chapter two!

Apr 23, 2011

We're reading this as a class novel study right now and I'm really not enjoying it. This book has almost too many details for my liking.

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Mar 25, 2019

FunbunJelly101 thinks this title is suitable for All Ages

red_bird_2475 Jul 22, 2014

red_bird_2475 thinks this title is suitable for All Ages

JESSICA SI JIA ZHANG thinks this title is suitable for 10 years and over

Sep 11, 2012

Nicoletams thinks this title is suitable for 99 years and over

violet_cat_1889 Jun 30, 2012

violet_cat_1889 thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 10 and 30

May 21, 2012

green_bird_714 thinks this title is suitable for 99 years and under

Apr 23, 2011

Sophie11099 thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 9 and 11


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Mar 25, 2019

Young bhas' you 'ave always been my friend

Jul 31, 2015

When I am older I will find that Cay and say "Dis be dat outrageous Cay, Eh Timothy?"


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