The Cinder-Eyed Cats

Book review by
Matt Berman, Common Sense Media
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Spectacular book enchants all who read or hear it.

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What parents need to know

Parents need to know that spectacular art, dreamlike story, and beautiful writing add up to a sure winner.

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What's the story?

A boy travels by flying sailboat to an island, where he and some giant cats conjur the creatures of the sea into a swirling moonlit dance in the air. Though oddly ignored by the major awards, this spectacular book enchants all who read or hear it.


Is it any good?

Eric Rohmann has made other bizarre and appealing picture books, but this is the work of a master at his best. The dreamlike story begins on the title spread, but it's not until the 10th page that the words begin. The brief, rhyming text, with rhythms that are more complex than usual for this type of picture book, is lovely and lyrical in a way that will appeal to older children and adults, but that younger children will respond to as well.

The two-page borderless paintings are luminous and exciting. Children will enjoy noticing the small details -- the way the islands in the distance look like sleeping cats, and the way some of the roots and snakes at the base of the trees look suspiciously like feline tails. Together, pictures and text create a story at once beautiful and thrilling, a feast of sight and sound, a moment of pure enchantment.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the imaginative journey in the book. Where have you traveled in your dreams?

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