Anton and Cecil: Cats at Sea [NOOK Book]

Overview

“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 . . . There’s even a bit of history lurking in the background.” --The New York Times Book Review 

Cat brothers Anton and Cecil are as different as port and starboard. Cecil, stocky and black with white patches, thirsts for seafaring adventure. Slim, gray ...

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Anton and Cecil: Cats at Sea

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Overview

“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 . . . There’s even a bit of history lurking in the background.” --The New York Times Book Review 

Cat brothers 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 port, he's impressed 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?

Black-and-white drawings illustrate each chapter.

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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.)
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: 10/8/2013
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 250
  • Sales rank: 403,220
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • File size: 4 MB

Meet the Author

Lisa Martin has worked as an educator and children's poet and currently resides in Charlottesville, Virginia. This is her first book for young readers.

Orange Prize-winner Valerie Martin is the author of nine acclaimed adult novels, including Property and The Confessions of Edward Day. She lives in Millbrook, New York.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 18, 2013

    I had such fun reading this book! It is a perfect middle grade r

    I had such fun reading this book! It is a perfect middle grade read for either boys or girls, it has something in it for both of them, and even their parents if they are reading it aloud with them, I think people of all ages can get something out of this story.




    Anton and Cecil are brothers, and could not be any different in personality, however, I think that it reflects well on family dynamics. They still live with their Mother Sonya at a lighthouse in Nova Scotia, and travel to the docks everyday to search for food and entertainment. The way that the author's were able to portray the sailors and how they acted, and how that attracted the cats was such fun.




    The cats were also able to speak to other animals as well, and that was an interesting twist in the story, and it was great how you got to see the different personalities in the different animals, and you could imagine that that is how they would be speaking if they could, it was great! 




    I enjoyed the pacing of the book, it was just spot on, and very easy for a middle grader to follow for sure and not be lost anywhere. I also liked that you got to see how the brothers interacted together, and when they were separated we got to see a real growth in both of them, and I think that there are some good lessons for kids to learn in this book. I would for sure recommend it for anyone looking for a good middle grade read, this one gets a 4/5 from me! 

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 30, 2014

    Loved this book!

    Great book! I highly reccomend Anton and Cecil!

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  • Posted November 15, 2013

    Adventures with heart

    I really enjoyed this fast-paced, interesting story of two Canadian cat brothers with very different personalities, but who are, nonetheless, true brothers who look out for each other no matter what. The book focuses on the brothers quest to find the other and their way home, after one brother (the one most disinterested in the sea) is shanghaied on their hometown docks. There's lots of adventure, but great characters and the story always maintains its great heart. Themes of loyalty, family, friendship, and personal growth abound, but the tale never drags or becomes preachy in any way. The book has 14 chapters, so it made for a nicely paced two-week bedtime read. And the illustrations by Kelly Murphy are quite wonderful and add a lot to the story. I hope there will be a sequel. My only *very minor* criticism would be that in a couple of places it seemed as though the two authors had difficulty maintaining a single unified narration voice.

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  • Posted November 6, 2013

    A swashbuckling adventure full of mystery, superstition, and a l

    A swashbuckling adventure full of mystery, superstition, and a little magic. I absolutely loved this book! This is the type of story that will be enjoyed by children young and old.

    I loved the cats, I loved the pirates, and I loved the mouse. I liked the way each cat landed in a situation that stretched and challenged them specifically. This is a very fun book!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 10, 2013

    Outstanding! A classic! Pure storytelling, set in an interesti

    Outstanding! A classic! Pure storytelling, set in an interesting historical period, about two loyal brother cats. Perfect for young readers. PHooper

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