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Time Cat: The Remarkable Journeys of Jason and Gareth Hardcover – April 1, 2003

4.4 out of 5 stars 96 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

A boy named Jason has nine historical adventures with the help of Gareth, his talking, time-traveling cat. Ages 8-12.

Copyright 1996 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


"Beloved novels return for a new generation of readers."
--Publishers Weekly
"Time Cat is a book that will appeal to youngsters but has the quality to entertain even the most jaded of adult readers."
--SF Site
"Time Cat is a delightful tale for young teens, and for anyone who has wondered where cats go 'when you're looking all over and can't find them' or when they 'suddenly appear in a room when you were sure the room was empty.'"

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 13 years
  • Grade Level: 3 and up
  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR); First Edition edition (April 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0805072705
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805072709
  • Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 0.9 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.3 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (96 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,411,708 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Few writers have inspired as much affection and interest among readers young and old as Lloyd Alexander. At one point, however, it seemed unlikely that he would ever be a writer at all. His parents could not afford to send him to college. And so when a Philadelphia bank had an opening for a messenger boy, he went to work there. Finally, having saved some money, he quit and went to a local college. Dissatisfied with not having learned enough to be a writer he left at the end of one term. Adventure, he decided was the best way. The United States had already entered World War II. Convinced that here was a chance for real deeds of derring-do, he joined the army -- and was promptly shipped to Texas where he became, in disheartening succession an artilleryman, a cymbal player in the band, an organist in the post chapel, and a first-aid man. At last, he was assigned to a military intelligence center in Maryland. There he trained as a member of a combat team to be parachuted into France to work with the Resistance. "This, to my intense relief, did not happen," says Alexander. Instead, Alexander and his group sailed to Wales to finish their training. This ancient, rough-hewn country, with its castles, mountains, and its own beautiful language made a tremendous impression on him. But not until years later did he realize he had been given a glimpse of another enchanted kingdom. Alexander was sent to Alsace-Lorraine, the Rhineland, and southern Germany. When the war ended, he was assigned to a counterintelligence unit in Paris. Later he was discharged to attend the University of Paris. While a student he met a beautiful Parisian girl, Janine, and they soon married. Life abroad was fascinating, but eventually Alexander longed for home. The young couple went back to Drexel Hill, near Philadelphia, where Alexander wrote novel after novel which publishers unhesitatingly turned down. To earn his living, he worked as a cartoonist, advertising writer, layout artist, and associate editor for a small magazine. It took seven years of constant rejection before his first novel was at last published. During the next ten years, he wrote for adults. And then he began writing for young people.Doing historical research for Time Cat he discovered material on Welsh mythology. The result was The Book of Three and the other chronicles of Prydain, the imaginary kingdom being something like the enchanted land of Wales. In The Remarkable Journey of Prince Jen Alexander explored yet another fantastic world. Evoking an atmosphere of ancient China, this unique multi-layered novel was critically acclaimed as one of his finest works. Trina Schart Hyman illustrated The Fortune-tellers as a Cameroonian folktale sparkling with vibrant images, keen insight and delicious wit. Most of the books have been written in the form of fantasy. But fantasy, Alexander believes, is merely one of many ways to express attitudes and feelings about real people, real human relationships and problems

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
"Time Cat" was the first book by classic writer Lloyd Alexander. It's a fluffy but enjoyable time travel adventure for cat-lovers and historical fantasy buffs alike; there's a little roughness around the edges, less detailed writing, but it's a pleasantly whimsical little trip through time.
Jason is up in his room after a fight with his mother and brother, with only his cat Gareth for company. To Jason's surprise, Gareth suddenly starts speaking to him. He is, surprisingly, a magical cat who can travel through time and space -- to any nine lives in the past. He takes Jason on a trip through time, to ancient Egypt where the boy-pharaoh wants to worship him; the Roman empire, where they are recruited by a legion and then captured by Celts; ancient Ireland, where they make enemies with a court magician and friends with a very special saint; Imperial Japan, where a young Emperor is given Gareth and a bunch of kittens as a gift; Renaissance Italy, where the two bump into a talented young painter; Spanish-dominated Peru, where they befriend a scatterbrained, silver-tongued young captain; they introduce a special cat to the Isle of Man; witch-hunters in medieval Germany; and finally making friends with a kindly cat-peddler in 1775 Boston.
"Time Cat" has no central plot. Instead, it is a series of vignettes: A couple of chapters are devoted to each time period. It's like an extended daydream, displaying what are presumably the time periods that interest (or possibly frighten) Alexander himself. He also displays some educational material about cats -- how they were seen through history, things about Manx cats, and about all the roles that cats can play in a person's life.
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Format: Paperback
Wow, that was pathetically corny, but I couldn't resist.
Anyway, Alexander's book is wonderful. He's certainly my favorite, but Time Cat still managed to surprise me. It was an entertaining story (which ALL of his are), and it also reached some of the depth of his best tales (Westmark, Prydain, The Marvelous Misadventures of Sebastian).
The concept is great. Everyone knows that cats have nine live, but we don't realize that they live them simultaneously in various periods and places and can move from life to life at will. The cat in this, Gareth, ends up taking a boy, Jason, with him to visit each life. They visit such places as Egypt: 2700 B.C., Ireland: 411 A.D., Peru: 1555, Italy: 1468, and others. They get through an exciting adventure in each place and time.
Each story is highly entertaining. You get to witness the excitement while learning about various cultural facts and historic figures (such as Saint Patrick and Leonardo da Vinci). The real strength in the novel is the way in which the stories work together to create a strong message about being in awe of life and living it with courage and compassion. Time Cat is a superb novel and one of Alexander's best.
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Format: Paperback
I am in second grade. This book had very good details and the exploring was really interesting. I love this book because I love cats too. I'm going to read more books by Mr. Alexander. I hope that all of you will read this book... Time Cat.
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Format: Paperback
Hail the hometown hero. Or rather, the home country hero. With the massive collection of British fantasy writers out there, sometimes it's nice to reflect that at least we have Lloyd Alexander. Fantasy author extraordinaire. As prolific as he is talented, his books have remained in circulation since the 1960s. Therefore, it was with great surprise that I consulted the copyright date on his delightful "Time Cat", only to find that my newly published paperback copy was the latest edition of a title that originally came out in 1963. 1963 was a long time ago, yet this book has stayed relatively fresh for a historical fantasy. There are problems with it, no question. But on the whole it's an interesting story that holds up in the end.
In "Time Cat" there are two protagonists. One is Gareth, a cat capable of talking and time traveling when it pleases. The other is Jason, Gareth's human friend. At the insistence of Jason, the two set off on a series of cat-based adventures around the globe at different points in the past. They find themselves entertaining a pharoh, running from the witch-obsessed Germans of the 1600s, prisoners of Incas, and friends with Roman conquerors. For the kid who likes cats and likes adventures, this book is ideal. If, on the other hand, the reader doesn't particularly care for felines, they'd do well to choose another book. This is strictly a cat-lover affair. Each time period, in its way, relates to a period of history in the cat species. We see the way the Manx cats got their names, how cats were worshipped in Egypt, and called the devil in the 17th century. Jason and Gareth also proceed to make the acquaintance of several historical figures, from St. Patrick to Leonardo Da Vinci.
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Format: Hardcover
Published way back in 1963, "Time Cat" was the first book ever written by Lloyd Alexander, and as such, exists as an interesting comparison to many of his later books, with echoes of plots and characters that will later be used in his more famous and sophisticated works. It is quite a simplistic book, with a straightforward story told in clear but sparse prose, but there are certainly traces of the excellence that is to come in Alexander's later books, particularly the award-winning The Prydain Chronicles.

Jason has been sent to his bedroom in disgrace, only to find that his black, orange-eyed cat can talk! Gareth informs him that rather than the oft-believed saying that cats have nine lives, it is in fact the ability to *visit* nine lives that make cats so special - and Gareth offers to take Jason on the journey that he intends to take that very moment. What follows is not so much a single over-arching story as a series of short-stories detailing the adventures that take place in nine different locations across time that Jason and Gareth make. Starting in Egypt in 2700BC and working their way forward to America in 1775, Jason learns about history, personal wisdom, and himself, before finally returning to his own time. In each location there is some commentary on mankind's progress and how it relates to their relationship with cats, moving from Egypt in which cats were venerated as gods, to Germany in the 1600s, in which they were destroyed as devils. As Jason puts it: "In Egypt they thought you were a god. Here they think you're a demon. Won't anyone ever understand you're a cat?
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