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Time Cat
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Time Cat

4.0 45
by Lloyd Alexander, Bill Sokol (Illustrator)

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Here’s the book that started it all—Lloyd Alexander’s first fantasy for young readers—back in hardcover!

Gareth’s definitely not an ordinary cat. For one thing, he can talk. For another, he’s got the power to travel through time—

“Anywhere, any time, any country, any century,” Gareth tells Jason.


Here’s the book that started it all—Lloyd Alexander’s first fantasy for young readers—back in hardcover!

Gareth’s definitely not an ordinary cat. For one thing, he can talk. For another, he’s got the power to travel through time—

“Anywhere, any time, any country, any century,” Gareth tells Jason. And in the wink of a very special cat’s eye, they’re off. From ancient Egypt to Japan, the land of young Leonardo da Vinci to the town of a woman accused of witchcraft, Jason and Gareth are whisked from place to place and friend to foe.

Full of fun, excitement, and a good dose of history, here’s a fantastic tale that grabs the imagination and takes it far and wide, on the adventure of not one but nine amazing lifetimes.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Beloved novels return for a new generation of readers."

Publishers Weekly


"Time Cat is a book that will appeal to youngsters but has the quality to entertain even the most jaded of adult readers."

—SF Site


"Time Cat is a delightful tale for young teens, and for anyone who has wondered where cats go 'when you're looking all over and can't find them' or when they 'suddenly appear in a room when you were sure the room was empty.'"


Publishers Weekly
Beloved novels return for a new generation of readers. Lloyd Alexander's first fantasy, Time Cat: The Remarkable Journeys of Jason and Gareth was published in 1963, before he went on to write the Newbery Honor book The Black Cauldron (1965) and The High King, winner of the 1969 Newbery Medal. Here, Gareth, a magical cat, and his human friend Jason travel to the past, visiting nine different eras all over the world, including ancient Egypt.
Children's Literature
Inspired by his cat's ability to appear and disappear without his noticing it, Lloyd Alexander crafted a magical fantasy about Jason and his black cat Gareth. Gareth tells Jason that cats do not actually have nine lives, but nine trips. They can go live different lives in different places, and they are allowed to bring a friend. Jason and Gareth go to Egypt in 2700 B.C.E., to Italy in 1468 (where they meet, hang out with and inspire Leonardo da Vinci), to witch hunts in 1600's Germany and to a last stop in 1775 America. Great for stimulating historical discussions, but most importantly, a great read. 2003 (orig. 1963), Henry Holt and Company,
— Sharon Levin
Georges T. Dodds
Time Cat is a book that will appeal to youngsters but has the quality to entertain even the most jaded of adult readers.
SF Site

Product Details

Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
Publication date:
Edition description:
First Edition
Product dimensions:
5.68(w) x 8.62(h) x 0.91(d)
Age Range:
8 - 13 Years

Related Subjects

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1: The Visitors Gareth was a black cat with orange eyes. Sometimes, when he hunched his shoulders and put down his ears, he looked like an owl. When he stretched, he looked like a trickle of oil or a pair of black silk pajamas. When he sat on a window ledge, his eyes half-shut and his tail curled around him, he looked like a secret. He belonged to a boy named Jason, who loved him and believed Gareth could do anything in the world. As things turned out, Jason was right-not entirely, but almost. It happened this way. In the middle of a sunny afternoon, Jason sat in his room on the end of his bed, with his chin in his hands, and wished the past five minutes had never happened. Downstairs, in that space of time, he had accomplished the following: 1. Spilled paint on the dining-room table. 2. Dropped his model airplane and stepped on it. 3. Coated the inside of one pocket of his jacket with glue, when the tube he had been saving for emergencies had come uncapped. 4. Torn his shirt. 5. Punched his younger brother in the ribs for laughing at him. 6. Talked back to his mother, who had not agreed his brother needed punching. 7. Begun to cry, a thing Jason despised because he considered himself too old for it. There had been other details he preferred to forget. In any case, he had been told to go to his room, which he did, feeling put down and miserably sorry for himself. Gareth, who had been drowsing on top of Jason's pillow, uncurled and climbed onto the boy's lap. Jason stroked the cat and ran his finger over Gareth's only white spot-on his chest, a T-shaped mark with a loop over the crossbar. "Lucky Gareth," Jason sighed, lying back and closing his eyes, "I wish I had nine lives." The cat stopped purring. "I wish I did, too," he said. Jason started up in surprise. Not because Gareth had spoken. Jason had always been sure he could if he wanted to. It was what Gareth had said. "You mean you really don't have nine lives?" Jason asked, disappointed. "I'm afraid not,' said the cat, in a very matter-of-fact way. "But, since you mention it, I'll tell you a secret. I only have one life. With a difference: I can visit." "Visit?" Jason said. "Yes," Gareth went on, "I can visit nine different lives. Anywhere, any time, any country, any century." "Oh, Gareth!" Jason clapped his hands. "Can all cats do that?" "Where do you think cats go when you're looking all over and can't find them?" Gareth replied. "And have you ever noticed a cat suddenly appear in a room when you were sure the room was empty? Or disappear, and you can't imagine where he went?" "And you've actually gone to a lot of different countries?" Jason asked. No, not yet," Gareth said. "I've been waiting for —- oh, I don't know, a special occasion, you might say. I never saw much sense in just going as a tourist. It's better to wait until there's some important reason." "I guess you're right," Jason nodded. He looked over at Gareth. "I was wondering if you thought there might be a special occasion coming up soon?" "There might be" said Gareth. "Gareth, listen," Jason said eagerly, "if it were a special occasion and somebody else, somebody you liked, wanted very much to go, could you take him with you?" Gareth did not answer immediately. He began looking like an owl and stayed that way for a while. Finally, he said. "Yes, I suppose I could." "Would you take me?" Gareth was silent again. "I could take you with me," he said, after a moment, "but I have to warn you of this. You'd be on your own, you wouldn't have any kind of protection. Neither of us would. Naturally, I'd help you every way I could; we'd be able to talk to each other, but only when no one else was around. Aside from that, what happens, happens. And you couldn't change your mind in the middle. "Oh, there's something else. Whatever you did, you wouldn't dare be separated from me for any length of time. Otherwise, you'd never see home again. Now, if you accept the conditions ... "Oh, Gareth, I accept!" "Are you sure?" the cat asked. "Think carefully." Jason nodded. "Very well," said the cat. "Look into my eyes." And he gave Jason a long, slow wink. copyright (c) Lloyd Alexander, 1963; Published by Puffin Books, a member of Penguin Putnam Books for Young Readers.

Meet the Author

Lloyd Alexander (1924-2007) was the author of more than forty books for children and adults, including the beloved children’s fantasy series, the Chronicles of Prydain, one of the most widely read series in the history of fantasy and the inspiration for the animated Disney film, The Black Cauldron. His books have won numerous awards, including the Newbery Medal, the Newbery Honor, and the National Book Award for Juvenile Literature.

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Time Cat 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 45 reviews.
DogCK More than 1 year ago
Where do you think cats go when they aren't around, and suddenly emerges out of nowhere? Lloyd Alexander's historical fiction, Time Cat will tell you about a cat with a great secret behind history. Jason, an immature trouble-maker, is stunned to know that his cat, Gareth, doesn't have nine lives, but can travel nine places; any where, any time, any place, any century. By Jason's insistence, Gareth and Jason take off by a wink. Their first destination is ancient Egypt, where they meet a pharaoh. There, Jason teaches him a moral lesson. The pharaoh, in return, gives Jason that medal of ankh, the mark of life. They carry on, going to ancient Rome and Britain. They also travel to Italy from Japan, meeting Leonardo Davinci. Jason and Gareth help young Leonardo to persuade his father to become an artist. They meet both friends and foes; from witch crafted innocent women to nasty forest tribes. Every time they faced problems, they courageously made their way through. After the thrilling journey, Gareth warns Jason not to talk about their travels. Gareth also forbids him from talking to each other. However, Jason doesn't find the request too hard, since no one would believe him anyway. In Jason's hand, glitters the medal of ankh. Time Cat is very educational and unique. The story is fun as well as teaches ancient history. I recommend this novel to any history-lovers.
Bazilla More than 1 year ago
Jason is a boy, he owns a cat named Gareth. Little did he know Gareth is more than just a ordinary cat, they'll go on strange adventures including a Pharaoh, other cats, Leonardo DaVinci,and more. They go to different times and locations like Egypt, China, Rome. But the end is really unpredictable. That was a summary of Time Cat a fantasy story written by Lioyd Alexander. I'd give it a 4.5 star rating. I liked the plot, and the character development. However I did not like the fact that the chapters were kind of systematic. Still I'd recommend it to you mostly because after I read it I really liked it.
Sam_Johnson More than 1 year ago
One day after a boy just got sent to his room he said to his cat "I wish had 9 lives like you." "I don't HAVE 9 lives," said the cat. "I can GO to 9 lives." The boy and the cat go to 9 different places in history. I liked this book because it had very good words that described things and people, like when author said a cat was so scared that his hair stood by itself. I think you should read this book because you will get so hooked that you will want to read it again and again.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
For my book report I did the time cat. At first I thought it was going to be about a cat who can travel from place to place and cannot die. It was like he had a thousand lives. I don’t want to be a spoiler so I’ll tell you a little bit. So this guy named Jason who has a cat named Gareth. Gareth told him cats don’t have nine lives but  they can visit nine lives. Jason begged him to go and they did but then they got taken away. That is pretty much all I can tell you without giving away the end. I liked how it was a fiction book from the author Lloyd Alexander. I really liked the book and how it was about an animal. I really think animals should have more books on them. Animals can be true heroes. I think that any one can read this book. It isn't too hard but it isn't too easy. I believe that the book is meant for ages eight to eighty. Sometimes it is easier to read a book that is higher than your level. So I guess we could say that the book is about a guy and a cat who go to nine lives and then they get in trouble but then they are safe.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Niklas More than 1 year ago
My book club group in school just finished the book Time Cat by Lloyd Alexander. The book is fantasy, but it seems true. The story takes place at different points of time. The two main characters are a boy called Jason and his cat, Gareth. The plot of Time Cat is traveling through time. Together they visit different countries and cultures. They also help people and solve problems that people have while at each time point. While traveling through time they find out new things, such as Jason learned Egyptians worship cats. I understand how some of the people in the book felt about cats because I felt the same way when I had a cat. I will give four stars to Time Cat because it was a good book, but it could use more action.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Okay, Gareth's defintely not an ordinary cat. For one thing, he can talk. For another, he's got the power to travel through time. And the istant he tells this to Jason (owner), the 2 of them are in ancient Egypt, on the first of nine amazing adventures Jason will never forget!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is definitely in the category of historical fiction. The plot, like a lot of historical fiction books, is not entertaining or interesting at all. The only interesting parts are when you learn something new from historical connections in the book. The good thing about this book is that it gives a nice variety of historical connections and also has accurate information. The bad things are the book only gives a small amount of information about each place and time, and most of the time, it is information you already know about that civilization. If you are looking for a book that gives you a small peek into historical times, with a wide variety of history to learn from, then this book is the right pick. On the other hand, if you are looking for either an interesting read or a book that goes into more detail and variety about a civilization, then I recommend you buy a historical book that focuses on only one civilization or historical time. My final statement about this book is that it has a large and accurate variety of historical facts, but a very brief summary of each historical time.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Time Cat is a great book for people who like adventure books. I liked it a lot because it connected to ancient time in history. Jason and his cat Gareth travel through time and meet the Egyptians, they go to Rome, and they even meet Leonardo DaVinci. I would rate this book 4.5 stars out of 5 stars. If I were Gareth, I would go back to the time when Rome had a full civilization. This book made me laugh quite a bit at the funny parts and it made me kind of sad at some parts. I would recommend this book for kids in maybe 6th grade because they would have some background on the history in this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I thoroughly enjoyed the book Time Cat. This book¿s creative and unique plot, where Jason and Gareth travel through time and around the globe is a charming change from the normal time travel stories. I recommend this book for readers who read for fun, but not for readers who want a deep plot and lots of action in their reading. I think Time Cat is one of Lloyd Alexander`s best works!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved it because it tells about actual things in time but it isn't boring, also, only a child could actually believe that their cat can talk or visit nine lives so thats why most dont like it
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read this book as a child and loved it. I have recently rebought it and enjoy it, though it took me only an hour to read. If you like cats and culture, I think you will like this book. If you are over the age of 12 it might bore you. For goodness sake it is a chidren's book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I bought this book right away because of the summary, but it was actually very dull and it really reminded me of a history book. It talked so much about history and the plot wasn't that strong. If I could, I would give it 0 stars.
Guest More than 1 year ago
the plot was really lame, and tell me what kind of person doesn't get freaked out when his cat starts talkning to him!! besides, it's too obvious also
Guest More than 1 year ago
I thought it was slow moving and not enough of a plot to hold my attention. In a way, it was to simple of a book and didnt keep you on your toes.
Guest More than 1 year ago
i loved it! it was the best! i liked it when they went to egypt the best
Guest More than 1 year ago
It's about Jason and his cat Gareth who doesn't have 9 lives but can go to 9 different places. I liked this book because they travel to all different places. Sometimes they travel to places were they think cats are demons and in other places cats are gods
Guest More than 1 year ago
Gareth is so cool and he is very very tricky. As Jason travels in time with Gareth they unravelthe pasts secrets.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Jason is a boy about the age of 12. Gareth is Jason¿s cat. Together they travel to ancient times and places. They meet many interesting people. Each adventure leads to something else. I enjoyed the interesting adventures of Jason and Garth. I couldn¿t wait to read the next chapter. How exciting to have your cat with you on all of these adventures! Definitely read this book if you like cats and adventure!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
OMG, another cat lover! Thank you for those words, Paul Pinson! I feel the same way! Dogs are always the glorified heroes, and cats the evil witch-pets! This story turns it around, though, and makes the cat a loveable good-guy, although this book isn't a tale of villains and heroes, really. It is always nice reading a book that at least doesn't portray an evil cat!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Dogs, dogs, dogs!!!! That's all you ever hear!!! But this book shines some of the light a magical cat. Even though it kinda goes to quick it sure is better than dog books!!!