This year one of the challenges I presented to myself was to reread at least ten books that I had only read once. I have a chronic problem with having “one night stands” with books, I mean there at least two books that I have returned to read more than twice, but on average I read a book once and that is it.
So The Cay by Theodore Taylor is a book I read way back in the sixth grade. I liked reading it when I was twelve and it was probably during this time in my life that novels I read shifted to a more serious tone. The Cay is about a young boy named Philip living on the island of Curacao in 1942, in the midst of World War II. Phillip and his mother leave the island via the ship called the S.S. Hato as German submarines blow up a British tanker.
The Hato is torpedoed by Germans. Philip finds himself after the evacuation on a raft with a large West Indian black man named Timothy and a cat by the name of Stew Cat. Thus we have a story of survival on our hands (read it for yourself to know what happens).
This novel is a good introduction for children (ages 10 – 12) to begin discussions about racism, respect, and understanding. Also, the novel illustrates clearly story development.
Rereading the book in my adult life now I found Philip incredibly whiny, but I still enjoyed reading it again as I felt nostalgic.