Friday, August 30, 2013

Anton and Cecil - Cats at Sea - book review

"Books are embalmed minds."
                          ~ Bovee

Title:  Anton and Cecil  Cats at Sea
Authors:  Lisa Martin and Valerie Martin
Ages:  8-12  (grades 3+)

Anton and Cecil are cat brothers whose escapades rivet you to each page as you follow them on a daring journey out to sea.  Cecil is beefy, black, outgoing and omnivorous.  He loves stepping out of his comfort zone and longs to sail the seas for excitement and adventure.  Anton, on the other hand, is sure-footed, sensitive, loves music and wants his feet firmly planted on land.  He is slender, svelte and grey from the tip of his ears to the tip of his tail.  They live in a lighthouse with their mother Sonya so sea life is no stranger to them.  Cecil wanders off to join the local fishermen who daily fish and bring their catch back to sell.  One day Anton falls prey to some rough sailors who nab him and trap him on board their ship to become the resident rat catcher on their voyage. (rats are one thing he hates to partake of by the way).  His brother Cecil hears of his demise and with much anxiety and concern gets on the next ship that sails off so he can rescue his brother and bring him back home where he belongs.

While on board these ships both brothers discover hidden traits of bravery and develop survival techniques that they never knew that they even possessed.  They are plunged into a bizarre world of pirates, mermaids, whales,  dolphins, island markets and challenging times of desperation and near hopelessness.

The felines never give up hope and with the help of the supernatural - a strange moon appearing as a cat's eye, they beat the near impossible odds of ever finding each other again in that vast, endless ocean.  The perfect alignment of "where the eye sees the eye" leads them to each other, something they could never have done on their own.  The reunion is joyful indeed, and they manage to return home and re-unite with their very worried mother.

This book is a perfect read - aloud and sure to keep everyone's attention until the very last page.  This intriguing adventure story, with the perfect interjection of the paranormal is beautifully written and I am sure destined to become a classic.  The text is enhanced by pleasing black-and-white drawings that illustrate the tale perfectly.

The take away is that the brothers have a strong, loving bond emphasizing the importance of family.  The cats develop strong friendships along the way who are fiercely loyal to their cause and the cats learn that keeping their values in the face of terrible adversity is crucial.   I highly recommend this book.

About the authors:

Lisa Martin grew up in New Orleans, a city of wonderful tastes and textures. She spent her high school years writing poems and short stories and working on the school literary magazine, then took a detour away from words and into numbers. She earned graduate degrees in business, met her husband, Roger, in Texas, and taught accounting to college sophomores until her sons came along.  She became very active in her children’s school community and read lots of books with them. She studied what she read and eventually tried her hand at children’s poetry and prose.  Cole and Cabot, her sons, were ten and eight when her aunt, author Valerie Martin, suggested she and Lisa collaborate on a children’s novel, which she considers a very happy stroke of luck.
She lives now in Charlottesville, Virginia, with her family and two cats, Albert and T.J., all of whom have made their way into her stories.

About the authors:

Valerie Martin has known she wanted to be a writer ever since high school. As a grown-up, she has published many books for adults, and has won prizes and grants that have helped her along with her writing. Anton and Cecil: Cats at Sea is her first attempt at writing for children. She had been thinking of trying a children’s book for some time, as she has a little grandchild (Calliope) and wanted to make up a good story for her. One afternoon, chatting with her niece Lisa Martin, who was of the same mind and who has read a great deal of children’s literature, Valerie suggested they might try something together. That’s how, over a long period of time, Anton and Cecil: Cats at Sea came about.
Valerie lives in a small town in Dutchess County, New York, and teaches writing at Mount Holyoke College.
- See more at:

                           Book Review rating:  8  (Fantastic!)

     Read on and read always!   Have a very, very happy Friday!

No comments: