Anton and Cecil, Book 1: Cats at Sea

Anton and Cecil, Book 1: Cats at Sea

4.5 6
by Lisa Martin, Valerie Martin
     
 

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A swashbuckling story of two very different cat brothers and their adventures at sea. Anton and Cecil are as different as port and starboard. Cecil, stocky and black with white patches, thirsts for seafaring adventure. Slim, gray Anton prefers listening to the sailors’ shanties at the town saloon. One day when Anton goes to the harbor, he’s taken

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Overview

A swashbuckling story of two very different cat brothers and their adventures at sea. Anton and Cecil are as different as port and starboard. Cecil, stocky and black with white patches, thirsts for seafaring adventure. Slim, gray Anton prefers listening to the sailors’ shanties at the town saloon. One day when Anton goes to the harbor, he’s taken as a ratter on a ship bound for the high seas. Cecil boards another ship in hopes of finding Anton. What begins as a rescue mission turns into a pair of high-seas adventures. Anton takes on a fierce rat, outwits hungry birds, and forges a forbidden friendship, while Cecil meets dolphins and whales and finds himself in a pirate raid. On an ocean as vast as the one Anton and Cecil have discovered, will they ever see home—or each other—again? Includes a sneak peek at the next adventure in the series, Anton and Cecil: Cats on Track.

Editorial Reviews

The New York Times Book Review - Sarah Harrison Smith
…remarkable for its delicate use of language…and for its watertight descriptions of seafaring. Though a benign natural magic speeds the brothers to their reunion, the Martins are careful that everything the cats do is within the range of real-world feline abilities. The story is engrossing and unpredictable, with likable heroes and charming accomplices…
Publishers Weekly
09/16/2013
Feline brothers Anton and Cecil have different ideas about how life should be lived. “Don’t be a chicken, be a cat. Be adventurous!” cries Cecil. “But every cat couldn’t be like Cecil. And every cat didn’t need to hear about it,” thinks Anton. Cecil loves to befriend fishermen and steal rides on boats, while fastidious Anton prefers to listen to music at the local saloon and nap. As (bad) luck would have it, Anton is abducted and brought aboard a barque, the Mary Anne, as a ratter. Cecil is one step behind on the Leone, determined to save his brother, and they use their wits to survive while making unlikely animal allies. Adult author Valerie Martin (Property), writing with her niece Lisa, make their children’s book debut with a quaint mix of adventure and legend. While some characters’ appearances are fleeting and a mysterious event toward the end of the book goes unexplained, the story is rich with seafaring vocabulary and nautical adventure. Final art not seen by PW. Ages 8–12. Author agent: Molly Friedrich, the Friedrich Agency. (Oct.)
From the Publisher
“Remarkable for its delicate use of language and for its watertight descriptions of seafaring . . . The story is engrossing and unpredictable with likeable heroes and charming accomplices . . . It’s a measure of the Martins’ success with this surprising debut that the cats’ triumph feels so credible and, to the formerly sparring brothers, profound.” —The New York Times Book Review

“The plot is carefully woven, the vocabulary rich and distinctive, and the characters engaging.” —Kirkus Reviews

“The story is well paced with descriptive language that firmly places readers in the midst of dangerous storms, sea battles, and islands full of strange animals . . . Children who like animal fantasies such as Avi’s Poppy will find much to enjoy here.” —School Library Journal

“Adult author Valerie Martin (Property), writing with her niece Lisa, make their children’s book debut with a quaint mix of adventure and legend . . . The story is rich with seafaring vocabulary and nautical adventure.” —Publishers Weekly

Review quotes
“Remarkable for its delicate use of language and for its watertight descriptions of seafaring . . . The story is engrossing and unpredictable with likeable heroes and charming accomplices . . . It’s a measure of the Martins’ success with this surprising debut that the cats’ triumph feels so credible and, to the formerly sparring brothers, profound.” —The New York Times Book Review

“The plot is carefully woven, the vocabulary rich and distinctive, and the characters engaging.” —Kirkus Reviews

“The story is well paced with descriptive language that firmly places readers in the midst of dangerous storms, sea battles, and islands full of strange animals . . . Children who like animal fantasies such as Avi’s Poppy will find much to enjoy here.” —School Library Journal

“Adult author Valerie Martin (Property), writing with her niece Lisa, make their children’s book debut with a quaint mix of adventure and legend . . . The story is rich with seafaring vocabulary and nautical adventure.” —Publishers Weekly

Children's Literature - Claudia Mills
Feline brothers Cecil and Anton, who live cozily together in the port city of Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, are opposite in every way except one. Brash, blustering Cecil pounces upon every chance he can get for seafaring adventure; quiet Anton prefers to savor second-hand dreams sung in haunting sea shanties in the local saloon. But the two share abiding brotherly love, so when poor Anton is seized and taken on board a clipper ship as resident mouser, Cecil knows he must follow on the next ship available, hoping somehow to solve the enigmatic riddle: "When the eye sees the eye, the lost shall be found." In lushly written chapters alternating point of view, each brother experiences adventures aplenty—a battle-to-the death with a hostile rat, capture by pirates, escape from marauding birds, hunger, thirst, abandonment, as well as fleeting victories and unexpected alliances. At times readers may be a bit at sea themselves trying to track two switching story lines: Is it Cecil who is on the pirate ship, or Anton? And which one meets up with Gretchen-the-cat from home? The two non-intersecting stories feel like a lengthy series of isolated episodes. But this aunt/niece team of debut children's authors excels at vivid description of the fascinating bygone world of clipper ships and the men—and cats—who sailed upon them; both Cecil and Anton are extremely likeable companions to keep readers company upon the high seas. Reviewer: Claudia Mills, Ph.D.
School Library Journal
09/01/2013
Gr 4–6—Two cat brothers who live on a busy dock couldn't be more different. Anton is thoughtful, cautious, and content with his life, particularly when he is able to listen to the music of sailors in the local taverns. Cecil is impulsive, curious, and keen to have an adventure aboard one of the many ships that sail in and out of the port every day. All the local cats live under the threat of being impressed to hunt rats and mice. Many who are seized are never seen again. So when Anton is snatched and taken aboard a huge ship, Cecil boards another vessel in order to find him and bring him home. Separated on a vast ocean, the brothers have adventures beyond their wildest dreams as they seek to be reunited with the help of a mysterious cat eye in the sky. The story is well paced with descriptive language that firmly places readers in the midst of dangerous storms, sea battles, and islands full of strange animals. The legend of the eye that watches over cats at sea adds an interesting supernatural element, though a scene in which all of the humans on one of the ships vanish will have readers scratching their heads in confusion. Nevertheless, children who like animal fantasies such as Avi's Poppy (Scholastic, 1995) will find much to enjoy here.—Amanda Raklovits, Champaign Public Library, IL
Kirkus Reviews
2013-09-01
This collaboration by a respected author of literary fiction and her niece, an educator and writer of poetry for children, is an odd mix of talking cats, oceangoing adventure and mystical events. Slender, gray Anton and large, black Cecil are not much alike, but, readers are told, the brothers love one another and enjoy their mostly peaceful life as stray cats in a seaside town. Pensive Anton enjoys listening to the sailors singing in the local saloon; adventurous Cecil prefers to pace along the dock, seeking sustenance and occasionally spending a day on board a fishing boat. Their low-key lives change dramatically when Anton is taken to sea against his will, and Cecil sets out to find him and bring him home. The plot is carefully woven, the vocabulary rich and distinctive, and the characters engaging (particularly Hieronymus, a hilariously loquacious mouse). Unfortunately, the overall effect is confusing rather than charming. The decision not to explain a key turning point may leave readers perplexed and even troubled, while other details fall just a bit too short of the fantastic to seem truly magical or rely on exceedingly unlikely coincidences. Cat lovers will be sorry to see Anton and Cecil suffer indifference and outright abuse from sailors and pirates, as well as facing other dangers, but they're still not likely to care overmuch about the eventual resolution. (Fantasy. 9-12)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781616203122
Publisher:
Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill
Publication date:
10/08/2013
Series:
Anton and Cecil , #1
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
256
Sales rank:
493,934
File size:
5 MB
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

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