The Cinder-Eyed Cats

The Cinder-Eyed Cats

3.6 3
by Eric Rohmann
     
 

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In his first book since Time Flies, his Caldecott Honor debut, Eric Rohmann transports a young boy in a magical sailboat to a lush tropical island inhabited by six cats with eyes like blazing coals. Rohmann's magnificent oil paintings draw the eye seamlessly from page to page, adding layers of complexity to a deceptively simple storyline. His palette reaches…  See more details below

Overview

In his first book since Time Flies, his Caldecott Honor debut, Eric Rohmann transports a young boy in a magical sailboat to a lush tropical island inhabited by six cats with eyes like blazing coals. Rohmann's magnificent oil paintings draw the eye seamlessly from page to page, adding layers of complexity to a deceptively simple storyline. His palette reaches effortlessly from the brilliance of a tropical day to the glow of a starlit night, while his scenes range from breathtaking ocean vistas to the meticulously detailed and expressive creatures. The Cinder-Eyed Cats is both a sumptuous feast for the eye and a virtuoso feat of picture storytelling.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The enchanted land and dream-like eyes of Rohmann's (Time Flies) cinder-eyed cats are likely to hypnotize readers as effectively as they have the boy in these pages. The title page begins the wordless start to a boy's adventure. He climbs a rope ladder into a Wynken-Blynken-and-Nod-style sailboat that flies through the sky and drops anchor near a sandy beach. From a foreground of jungle ferns entwined with mysterious, curling cats' tails, the reader sees the boy in the distance build an enormous sand fish and fall asleep. Then the lyrical, rhythmic text begins: "In faraway lands,/ When twilight falls on fair and wind-swept days,/ Cats like velvet shadows move,/ Their coal-fire eyes ablaze." The boy, the cats, the sand fish (now come to life) and assorted denizens of the sea "make their getaway" to the night sky to dance in the moonlight until "the waking light of dawn." Then "suddenly they're gone." The illustrations take on the quality of animated film as silver fish "flash like cats' eyes in the light," and the boy and his cats reach for the "sea-blue sky." Rohmann's (Time Flies) bright-eyed cats and cryptic story are as mesmerizing as a vivid dream that seems at once perfectly clear and vaguely puzzling. Even readers who prefer loose ends to be tied up neatly will respond to these enigmatic golden cats who sleep tumbled together as the boy sails home in his sky-flying boat "until... the moon comes round once more." Ages 4-8. (Oct.)
Children's Literature - Meredith Kiger
A different format adds to the magic and strangeness of a young boy's journey to a special place where twilight causes the appearance of cats with coal-fired eyes, and all the creatures of the sea to be released in a fantasmagorical dance of freedom. As daylight appears, they disappear, and the young boy sails back to reality. Bold illustrations add even more dimension to this unusual tale.
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2--Five tigers with staring eyes fill the book jacket, front and back, suggesting a larger-than-life story. It's a nighttime fantasy featuring a boy who climbs aboard a boat hanging in the air above a pier and sails off to faraway lands. After a wordless sequence of several pages, the text begins in blank verse and moves into rhymed couplets to recount in spare lines the child's encounter with the cinder-eyed cats and a host of fish and sea creatures that "rise up from the deep" and join a frenzied night of dancing in the air above the sand. Double-page paintings of the tropical island terrain deepen as the sunny afternoon sky and sea move through twilight and into the dark of night. The scheme of sailing off into the night and a dreamlike encounter with wild animals are certainly nothing new, but the energy and surrealism provide a well-paced adventure with intriguing moments. The boy builds a large sand fish on the beach; as he dozes against its side, its eye begins to open. The celebration of night is a cheerful melee containing visual images--a circle of dancing tigers and the tigers mounted on one another's backs--familiar from well-known stories. As the morning sun calls the fish back to the sea, it's all a bit of a well-woven pastiche, sometimes Disneyish in the drawing but often bold and rich. A bedtime piece with flair.--Margaret Bush, Simmons College, Boston
From the Publisher
"A beautiful book that readers will turn to again and again." — Booklist, Starred

"Rohmann’s bright-eyed cats are as mesmerizing as a vivid dream." — Publishers Weekly

"Rohmann’s magnificent oil paintings masterfully mix reality and fantasy." — Los Angeles Times

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780517708965
Publisher:
Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
09/01/1997
Pages:
40
Sales rank:
1,437,540
Product dimensions:
10.30(w) x 10.50(h) x 0.40(d)
Age Range:
3 - 7 Years

Meet the Author

Eric Rohmann’s first book for children, Time Flies, was named a Caldecott Honor Book, an ALA Notable Book, and a New York Times Book Review Best Children’s Book, and was a Colorado Children’s Book Award nominee.

Eric Rohmann is a painter, printmaker, and fine bookmaker. He holds degrees in fine arts from Arizona State University and Illinois State University.

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The Cinder-Eyed Cats 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Cinder-Eyed Cat is a visual feast in the telling of a little boy's trip to an enchanted island of beautiful lionesses. The text is spare yet poetic, lyrically lending itself to the midnight dance of ocean creatures. The poetry of the text and the genius of the art invite the reader onto endless paths of conversation. Which of the dancing sea animals does your youngster like best? Can they spot the cat figures hidden in the clouds and mountains? How long do they think it took the little boy to create his sand fish? My children and I have all enjoyed sharing this warm, gentle book for years.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Bought this on a whim for my daughter who is only two years old and she can't get enough of it. The illustrations are so sweet, so lush and really bring the text to life. The text itself is really a very catchy rhyme and my little girl has memorized it like a poem. Built her vocabulary while keeping her engaged -- no small task for a toddler. I highly recommend this for its gentle portrayal of animals in peaceful co-existence, its soothing rhyming text and its beautiful artwork. We've worn out our paperback copy and are going to buy the hardcover next.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a truly magical book, taking the reader (and viewer!) on an amazing journey into the Dream World. Like diving deep beneath the sea or flying high among the clouds, this book transports you. For a child or the child in you...