Interest LevelReading LevelReading A-ZATOSWord Count
Grades 4 - 8Grades 4 - 8V5.326145
For fans of Hatchet and Island of the Blue Dolphins comes Theodore Taylor’s classic bestseller and Lewis Carroll Shelf Award winner, The Cay.
Phillip is excited when the Germans invade the small island of Curaçao. War has always been a game to him, and he’s eager to glimpse it firsthand–until the freighter he and his mother are traveling to the United States on is torpedoed.
When Phillip comes to, he is on a small raft in the middle of the sea. Besides Stew Cat, his only companion is an old West Indian, Timothy. Phillip remembers his mother’s warning about black people: “They are different, and they live differently.”
But by the time the castaways arrive on a small island, Phillip’s head injury has made him blind and dependent on Timothy.

“Mr. Taylor has provided an exciting story…The idea that all humanity would benefit from this special form of color blindness permeates the whole book…The result is a story with a high ethical purpose but no sermon.”—New York Times Book Review

“A taut tightly compressed story of endurance and revelation…At once barbed and tender, tense and fragile—as Timothy would say, ‘outrageous good.’”— Kirkus Reviews

* “Fully realized setting…artful, unobtrusive use of dialect…the representation of a hauntingly deep love, the poignancy of which is rarely achieved in children’s literature.”—School Library Journal, Starred

“Starkly dramatic, believable and compelling.”— Saturday Review

“A tense and moving experience in reading.”— Publishers Weekly

“Eloquently underscores the intrinsic brotherhood of man.”— Booklist

"This is one of the best survival stories since Robinson Crusoe."— The Washington Star

· A New York Times Best Book of the Year
· A School Library Journal Best Book of the Year
· A Horn Book Honor Book
· An American Library Association Notable Book
· A Publishers Weekly Children’s Book to Remember
· A Child Study Association’s Pick of Children’s Books of the Year
· Jane Addams Book Award
· Lewis Carroll Shelf Award
· Commonwealth Club of California: Literature Award
· Southern California Council on Literature for Children and Young People Award
· Woodward School Annual Book Award
· Friends of the Library Award, University of California at Irvine
Paperback, 137 pages
Published on April 1, 2003 by Random House Childrens Books
ISBN-10: 044022912X
ISBN-13: 9780440229124
38 Book Reviews
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  • al3720
    al3720Tuesday, November 3, 2015 at 3:40 am33 stars
    I read this book. It is ok.
    • jelly656
      jelly656Thursday, October 6, 2016 at 11:08 am
    • fi901l
      fi901lTuesday, November 3, 2015 at 2:54 am55 stars
      this book remind you of something, H.L.C.S. 6th graders you should know this
      • unicorne
        unicorneTuesday, May 19, 2015 at 9:59 am
        I loved this book! I had to read it for Battle of the Books, and it was one of my favorite battle book. It was so good, I finished it in 30 minutes flat without stopping!
        • clarion
          clarionMonday, May 18, 2015 at 1:19 pm44 starsFeatured
          This book is really good. I liked it because Phillip overcame a lot of racism, and ended up loving Timothy, who he had earlier called an "ugly black man." It was really interesting too. I would say that it probably could have been a bit longer though.
          • bellaxx
            bellaxxSunday, March 1, 2015 at 4:58 pm44 stars
            This is a really great book for ages 9-13.
            • kell-bell
              kell-bellThursday, October 23, 2014 at 5:30 pm
              This was a sad and touching book. War comes to the peaceful island Philip lives on, and his mother takes him away. But little did anyone know the boat would be a target for the enemy. Philip's head was cracked by a piece of metal falling on him. A man luckily found Philip struggling in the water, and took him onto his raft as well as a cat named cook. one day when Philip woke up, he found himself blind. Timothy, the man who saved him, told him it was because of his head injury, and that he might not be blind forever. They eventually land on an island and without Timothy, Philip would never have survived. I will not write anymore, so if you want to find out what happened, read the book!
              • origamiyoda180
                origamiyoda180Saturday, February 13, 2016 at 12:49 pm55 stars
                BTW, The cats name is Stew Cat, and is the cooks cat. Five Stars!
              • nhumb
                nhumbFriday, October 3, 2014 at 9:34 am55 stars
                This is probably the best book I've ever read. Its about a kid that lives on a island then the island gets attacked so him and his mom decide to leave the island and then in the night the boat got torpedoed and he found himself on a life bout with this random guy. The kid went blind so he was stuck alone in the sea blind with this guy that he had only seen once.
                • crazycookielolz
                  crazycookielolzThursday, October 2, 2014 at 3:31 pm44 stars
                  This is a great book. We read it in my reading class. When i first start reading this book all I can think is BORING, but when you start to get into the book, a great plot emerges and the character really show who they really are. This book is full of twists and turns, close calls, and crazy things that you can't find anywhere else but, THE CAY.
                  • kell-bell
                    kell-bellThursday, October 23, 2014 at 5:30 pm
                    exactly what my thoughts were!
                  • neoncat
                    neoncatThursday, November 21, 2013 at 4:49 pm55 stars
                    A very touching book I read in 6th Grade. :)
                    • edmodo-tjs2u7q9rg
                      edmodo-tjs2u7q9rgWednesday, October 2, 2013 at 1:03 pm
                      I had to read this book for a grade. At first i did not like it but the I loved it I highly support this book Read this book.

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