Captain Cat
  • Captain Cat
  • Captain Cat

Captain Cat

by Inga Moore

A trader who loves cats discovers an island plagued by rats in Inga Moore’s lavishly illustrated tale about the value of treasure and the nature of home.

Captain Cat loves cats. In fact, he has more cats on his ship than he has sailors. On one voyage, he discovers a remote and lonely island where the little-girl Queen has never even seen a cat. When

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A trader who loves cats discovers an island plagued by rats in Inga Moore’s lavishly illustrated tale about the value of treasure and the nature of home.

Captain Cat loves cats. In fact, he has more cats on his ship than he has sailors. On one voyage, he discovers a remote and lonely island where the little-girl Queen has never even seen a cat. When Captain Cat’s furry companions trounce the rats infesting the island, the Queen begs Captain Cat to trade her the cats for untold treasure. Does he? Could he? What happens next? Never fear, fellow travelers! The purr-fect solution is on the horizon — and is sure to satisfy both pet-lovers and adventurers.

Editorial Reviews

The New York Times Book Review - Sarah Harrison Smith
Moore's detailed crosshatched pictures…add charm to this warmhearted story.
Publishers Weekly
★ 09/09/2013
Captain Cat, a fez-wearing, white-bearded old salt whose nickname derives from his love of felines—“There were more cats on board his ship... than there were sailors in his crew”—sets off to find his heart’s desire and discovers a remote island covered with swaying palms and Alhambra-like architecture. Its only problem? Rats. The island is ruled by the Queen, a frizzy-headed, supremely self-confident child; when she finds out what effective rat-killers cats are (she’s never seen one before), she offers Captain Cat all her treasure in exchange for them. Lest readers think Captain Cat a heartless cad for accepting, Moore (A House in the Forest) assures them “it was the cats themselves who had the final say.... they refused to go back on board.” Sun-bleached, finely crosshatched seascapes of wooden ships and rolling breakers alternate with endearing portraits of the kindly Captain Cat, the sassy queen, and the furry rat-dispatchers. A direct descendant of British-style exploits from Nesbit to Dahl—and with plenty of room to unfold leisurely, as befits a voyage of exploration—this is an adventure readers will savor. Ages 3–7. (Oct.)
From the Publisher
[T]his is an adventure readers will savor.
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

The story is well told, and the pictures add their own brand of charm... This pleasing picture book features an idyllic, original adventure story, told with wit and illustrated with grace.

Moore’s detailed crosshatched pictures — in a style familiar from her illustrations for "The Wind in the Willows" and "The Secret Garden" — add charm to this warmhearted story.
—The New York Times Book Review

Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
Our hero is called Captain Cat because he loves cats so much that he has more of them on his ship than sailors. As a trader, he keeps getting more cats. One day he decides to sail to places he has long wanted to see. A terrible storm blows the ship to an island overrun with rats, where the cats find an enthusiastic welcome. When the Captain leaves, the cats decide to stay behind. The treasure the Captain takes back in exchange from the grateful Queen causes the traders he knows to go in search of this wonderful island. What they return with makes an eventual happy ending for the Captain. The large pages display highly detailed, naturalistic mixed media illustrations to tell the rich visual tale. The scenes recall the romance of traditional fairy tales along with the high adventure of the sailing ship Carlotta and the perky nameless Queen on her nameless island. Do not pass by the sketchy scenes on the sea-blue end pages. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz AGERANGE: Ages 4 to 8.
School Library Journal
Gr 1–3—Captain Cat has spent years accumulating felines, making him a laughingstock among the other seafaring traders. One day, he and his cats set sail on an adventure and end up on an uncharted island. The young queen happily welcomes her visitors, but at their first meal, the dinner table is overrun with rats. Luckily, the cats save the day-although it results in the jarring image of rows of dead rats as the queen looks over "the neat rows of corpses lined up on the Royal Palace floor." The thankful ruler rewards the trader, who returns home without his cats, who prefer solid ground over the ship. Once the other traders see Captain Cat's treasure, they rush to the island with gifts for the queen, who gives them her most precious possessions: kittens. The disappointed traders give them to Captain Cat, who is inspired to sail back to the island to be with his cats. The illustrations are intricate, with many faces and details to examine, and the realistic, Mediterranean-looking backgrounds create a beautiful setting for the story. The characters, whether human or feline, have distinct expressions and looks, with a few animals peering out, connecting with readers. The story is not as well defined; it has a slightly rambling plot that slowly drifts to a close, but will still appeal to cat lovers and young readers who enjoy an adventure story.—Marian McLeod, Convent of the Sacred Heart, Greenwich, CT
Kirkus Reviews
This quirky tale has something for everyone: an adventurous sea captain, a mysterious island, mounds of treasure, a spunky princess, handsome sailors, charming cats (who are also ruthless hunters), and a clever, if not entirely intentional, comeuppance for a band of greedy merchants. The lengthy text covers a fair amount of time and distance in a conversational tone that suits the story's origin as an "old Italian tale" (according to the flyleaf; there is no other source note). Captain Cat's business sense, according to his colleagues, is sadly lacking, as he cheerfully trades goods of great value for his feline friends. Moreover, his urge to explore eventually sends him off in the opposite direction from the traditional trade routes. Ironically, he winds up on an island where his cats are more precious than gold--and where they are more than happy to settle down. Captain Cat, on the other hand, continues to sail, first back to his home port, where his wealth dazzles the other merchants, and then on across the open seas. Moore's mixed-media illustrations have the appearance of pen and ink and watercolor. A preponderance of mostly muted blues, greens, browns and tans create convincing watery vistas and rocky beaches as well as a plethora of cheerful-looking, big-eyed cats. Though it's on the long side, Moore's tale combines traditional themes and spritely illustrations to create a satisfying, offbeat adventure. (Picture book. 4-7)

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Product Details

Candlewick Press
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
11.44(w) x 10.10(h) x 0.55(d)
AD960L (what's this?)
Age Range:
3 - 7 Years

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