The Cinder-Eyed Cats

( 3 )

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 ...

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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.

Time Flies , a wordless picture book, is inspired by the theory that birds are the modern relatives of dinosaurs.  This story conveys the tale of a bird trapped in a dinosaur exhibit at a natural history museum.  Through Eric's use of color, readers can actually see the bird enter into a mouth of a dinosaur, and then escape unscathed.

A boy makes a magical trip to a tropical island where he and five tiger-like cats watch as various sea creatures emerge from the ocean to dance by the light of their campfire.

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Editorial Reviews

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

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
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780517708965
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 9/1/1997
  • Pages: 40
  • Sales rank: 999,012
  • Age range: 3 - 7 Years
  • Product dimensions: 10.31 (w) x 10.25 (h) x 0.35 (d)

Meet the Author

Eric Rohmann

Eric Rohmann's first book for children, Time Flies, was named a Caldecott Honor Book in 1995, and was called a splendid debut by Kirkus Reviews.

Eric holds degrees in fine arts from Arizona State University and Illinois State University.  He is a former teacher, and has exhibited his artwork as numerous galleries and museums across the country. Eric is a painter, printmaker, and a fine bookmaker, and he lives outside of Chicago.

Biography

The 2003 Caldecott Medal for illustration was awarded to Eric Rohmann for My Friend Rabbit, published by Roaring Brook Press, a division of The Millbrook Press. In the book, Mouse shares his brand-new toy airplane with his friend Rabbit, and no one can predict the disastrous-but hilarious-results. When the airplane lands in a tree, the chaos only builds as Rabbit drags, pushes and carries the whole neighborhood, including Elephant, Hippo and Crocodile, to the rescue. It's a lighthearted celebration of a friendship that will last - even if whatever Rabbit does and wherever he goes, trouble follows.

"Eric Rohmann's hand-colored relief prints express a vibrant energy through solid black outlines, lightly textured backgrounds and a robust use of color," said Pat Scales, chair of the 2003 Caldecott Award Committee. "The black frame cannot contain Rabbit's enthusiasm in this dramatic visual romp, as the characters tumble and spill from the page and back on again. The artist shows his respect for his audience and keen understanding of picture book design. Whatever they do and wherever they go, children will claim Rabbit as their friend."

Rohmann is the author and illustrator of two previous children's books, The Cinder-Eyed Cats and Time Flies, which was a 1995 Caldecott Honor Book. He also has illustrated The Prairie Train by Antoine Ó'Flatharta. A painter, printmaker and fine bookmaker, Rohmann holds fine arts degrees from Arizona State University and Illinois State University. He lives in the Chicago area. My Friend Rabbit is his first book for Roaring Brook Press.

Courtesy of the American Library Association.

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    1. Hometown:
      Chicago, Illinois
    1. Education:
      Fine Arts degrees from Arizona State University and Illinois State University

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 3 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 6, 2002

    Magical, Musical, Beautiful Island Cats

    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.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 25, 2004

    Magic!

    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...

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 23, 2002

    Gorgeous illustrations, great text!

    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.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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