❤︎ ❤︎ ❤︎ ❤︎ ❤︎
Genres: Fantasy, Children’s, Science Fiction, Time Travel, Young Adult, Historical Fiction, Fiction, Animals
Published By: Puffin Books in 1963
Format: Paperback (206 pages)
This is the book that time and time again makes me want to be a writer. There’s something about the story that Alexander crafts… it certainly isn’t the main characters, for they are simple (as, in a children’s book, they should be). I think part of it is the history, and part of it is the magic. Alexander is known for his Black Cauldron series, but like any good writer, he continues to shine in other areas as well. Time Cat is no exception. Alexander plays with the idea that a cat does have nine lives, but these aren’t lifetimes… they are nine different worlds wherein a cat can live. From Egypt, to Ireland, to Imperial China and back around again, each world that Gareth and Jason visit has a magic of its own
I find it difficult to describe why I love this book so much. As you can probably see, I trip over my words trying to emphasize the magic I see in it. I had a writing professor in college who once said that most of the fiction novels he forces himself to read these days, he finds deplorable, but there is one book he read once, about a fisher cat and a boy, and it’s absurd and silly and useless, but whenever he finds it in a library, he picks it up, reads it again, and it makes him want to become a novelist. Not because he thinks he could do better, but because it pulls all the right heartstrings. That’s the way I feel about Time Cat.
Admittedly, as I said, the main characters are flat. I don’t hold this against Alexander, or any author who writes children’s books, because the simple fact is that children can only grasp so complex a character. I believe this book is intended for 9-12 year-olds, not 21-year-olds like myself. The author doesn’t have to impress me with his debonair writing – his goal is to enchant children, and I think that Time Cat does that very successfully.
A boy and his pet magically travel through time and history. Why aren’t there more children’s books like this? Love.
I bought this book whimsically at a Scholastic Book Fair when I was a kid – probably around fourth grade. It’s now worn and battered, but it is very loved.
“Gareth was a black cat with orange eyes.”
Some of My Favorite Quotes
“Books can truly change our lives: the lives of those who read them, the lives of those who write them. Readers and writers alike discover things they never knew about the world and about themselves.”
“Just because you’ve seen something doesn’t mean you’ll stop looking. There’s always something you didn’t see before.”