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The Cay (Laurel-Leaf Books) Mass Market Paperback – April 8, 2003

4.4 out of 5 stars 948 customer reviews
Book 1 of 2 in the Cay Series

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

This award-winning novel remains a powerful classic of prejudice, love, and survival. In 1942, 11-year-old Phillip Enright lives with his parents on the Dutch island of Curaçao, but when the war moves too close for comfort, his mother decides to travel with him back to the safety of Virginia. When their boat is torpedoed, however, Phillip is blinded and finds himself adrift on a life raft with an old black man and a cat. They eventually land on a deserted island. Phillip is suspicious of "the large Negro," but soon grows to trust--and ultimately love--the patient and generous Timothy. Dedicated to "Dr. King's Dream," The Cay has a clear message that friendship is colorblind; it is also a terrific adventure story of a young, newly blinded man learning to survive on an uninhabited island. (Ages 12 and older) --Richard Farr --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.


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

From the Hardcover edition.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 0860 (What's this?)
  • Series: Laurel-Leaf Books
  • Mass Market Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Laurel Leaf; Reprint edition (April 8, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 044022912X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0440229124
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.4 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (948 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,000 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Lisa Ebeling on August 13, 2000
Format: Hardcover
PLOT SPOILERS / WARNING: Do not read this review/summary if you haven't yet read the book!!

CHARACTERS: Phillip Enright, 11, American citizen living with his parents on Curacao; Timothy, an elderly black West Indian deckhand; and Stew Cat, a tomcat shipwrecked along with them.

SUMMARY: In February 1942 the Germans attack an oil refinery on Aruba, neighboring island of Curacao, Dutch island off the Venezuelan coast. Young Phillip is living in Willemstad, Curacao, with his parents, but after the attack his mother wants to return to America. Phillip and Father are against the plan, but eventually Mother gets her way.

Just days out to sea, the Germans torpedo the Dutch freighter Phillip and his mother have boarded to flee Curacao. The ship breaks up and sinks; mother and son are separated. Mrs. Enright's fate is unknown, but Phillip is hauled onto a lifeboat by a very old black West Indian who'd been a crewmember on board the "Hato." The only other occupant of the lifeboat is an old cat named Stew Cat; the three are adrift on the open sea for days with only a keg of water, some matches and a few crackers.

Phillip was struck on the head when the "Hato" was sunk, and he has a splitting headache and concussion. After two days on the raft with Timothy and Stew Cat, he goes completely blind. On the third day at sea a plane flies overhead and Timothy signals for help with a torch, but they are not seen.

Timothy, Phillip and the cat make it to a small island that the old Negro, an old sea-hand, figures must be in the Devil's Mouth. Phillips initial reaction to Timothy is one of revulsion; he finds the big black man ugly and frightening.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I am in sixth grade now and our english teacher picked the book The Cay by Theadore Taylore to read as an assigned book. The Cay was the most recent assigned book we have read so we are still doing essays. Just by looking at the cover, this book look stupid to me. But when I read it, it was excellent. My teacher is always making us write essays for assigned books. The topics for our Cay essays were as followed: Phillip's immaturity changing to mature; Phillip's prejudice towards blacks and then accepting blacks; a newspaper article on the German & Dutch war; a brochure for presuading people to visit a Caribbean island; a newspaper article on the rescue of Phillip; and a couple others I can't think of. I mostly got A+ and A's on all of these essays. The only thing that brought the 10 rating down to a 9 is because it was hard to read when Timothy talked. But other wise I would give it a ten. I think that this book would be good for boys and girls ages 11+. I am 12 now so I would qulafy. I hope you will read this book. It is awesome!!!
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By Samantha on March 27, 2000
Format: Paperback
This book was awesome! It started out with a boy named Phillip who lived in the Caribbean. Phillip and his family were racist toward black people. They kinfd of thought that thet were bums! During the book, 1942, some German tankers were attacking the ships that went out to sea. After a while Phillips mother did not feel safe where they lived. She wanted to go back to Virginia were they had lived before they moved south. Since Phillips dad had a steady job and was helping in the war he decided that it would be best if they stayed on the island. Phillips mother preferred to go back to the states. Phillip and his mother went back alone. On their way they got bombed. their was a great explosion and everyone was frightened. They made it to the life boats safely with the other passangers. But they did not stay in the boat for long. The boat capsized and phillip got knocked on the head. When he woke up he was on a boat with his worst enemy, a black man. He was a very, very ugly and he was very, very large. Phillip was very frightened. But mainly he was scared about knowing where his mother was. During this whole timeon this lifeboat with this black man named Timothy, Phillip had a terrible headache. One day he woke up and he was blind. The only plus was that his headache was gone. One day they landed on an island. They were stuck on it for a long time. While they were on the island there was a hurricane. It mad a log fall on both of them. It knocked both of them out. But Timothy did not wake up. Shortly a ship came and saved Phillip. The conflict in this book were man vs. man, man vs. nature, man vs. socirty, and man vs. himself. The man vs. man was the white people on the island and the black people on the island. The man vs.Read more ›
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
When my son was in second grade (he's 26 now) we would sit on the couch and I would read a couple chapters of this book to him, and then he would read a couple chapters to me. Some of my favorite memories are of him with his head in my lap listening to me read. This is such a wonderfully written adventure story with a beautiful racial underlying theme that is perfect for kids (and adults too). I loved this story and I am not embarrassed to say that I wept. One of my absolute favorite books of all times.
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