Monday, March 15, 2010
Review #63: The Cinder-Eyed Cats
Lily (age 7): "The Cinder-Eyed Cats."
Dad: What is the first thing you think of when you look at this cover? Does it give you any certain feelings?
Isaac (age 11): The cats are looking at you strangely. You can't take your eyes off them.
Gracie (age 9): You get nervous. Their eyes are disturbing.
Dad: I love the eyes.
Lily: Me too.
Isaac: They have flaming yellow eyes.
Gracie: They are looking at me! The cats are waiting for me to blink so they can do something to me.
Lily: The illustrator draws cool.
Gracie: Very realistic.
Lily: He draws the coolest of the cools. It is so so so so so so so realistic.
Dad: Do you know what other books Eric Rohmann made? You will be shocked.
Dad: There's another one of my favorites. He did "My Friend Rabbit." You know the one where the rabbit throws the plane and it gets stuck in a tree?
Isaac: Huh!!! He did that? That's a linocut one...
Dad: Yep - wood cut. So Eric Rohmann is good at more than one style.
Lily: The pictures are just so awesome.
Gracie: I love the pictures.
Dad: Tell us what "The Cinder-Eyed Cats" is about...
Isaac: There's a boy who gets into this flying boat, and he goes to an island.
Gracie: The Wondrous Island of Cats.
Lily: They are big, giant, puma cats.
Isaac: I think they are mountain lions. No - ligers! They're ligers! Don't they look like ligers? They've got to be ligers.
Lily: Gracie doesn't know what a liger is.
Isaac: A liger is when a lion and a tiger get... married... and have ligers for kids.
Dad: I don't think they get "married." But we don't need to go into that now...
Gracie: Yes we do. We need to know this.
Dad: What we need, is to keep this review rated "G."
Isaac: Isn't there such a thing as a Zorse too?
Lily: Yeah, there are zorses.
Dad: A zebra-horse mix...
Gracie: Everyone needs to know the story of ligers and zorses. It's just like a Golden Doodle. A golden retriever and a poodle mixed.
Dad: Why "Doodle"? It should be Golden... Roodle?
Gracie: Nope. Doodle. Julia has one.
Dad: Anyway -- back to our book...
Gracie: It's about a boy, and he went to an island... the Magic Island of Liger-ness.
Isaac: Then he builds this giant fish out of sand -- it looks like a huge salmon. Then at night, the sand fish salmon opens his eyes and starts flying.
Lily: The cats make the fish alive by their eyes.
Dad: You think it was the cats that brought the sand fish to life?
Lily: Yeah! Their eyes.
Dad: They do look like magic eyes.
Lily: Yeah, they seem strange.
Gracie: Their eyes just keep staring at you! It freaks me out. Here... (turns book) ...stare at Lily.
Isaac: Then at night all these other fishes start flying!
Lily: They do it at night because that's when the pumas are awake.
Gracie: They are ligers.
Gracie: The fishes dance in the air on the Magic Island of Liger-ness.
Isaac: There are dancing tunas and sardines.
Lily: They circle around and around.
Gracie: They all dance around the fire.
Lily: Even big giant whales fly, which looks really cool.
Dad: The boy in this book seems to be friends with the cats.
Gracie: Well, why would he come to the island if he didn't know the cats already?
Dad: So you think he's been to the island before?
Gracie: Oh yeah.
Lily: They are friendly cats.
Gracie: They are not dangerous.
Lily: This cat should be named "Lemon."
Gracie: I think the boy goes to the island every night.
Isaac: Every night he'll have different adventures.
Gracie: Maybe the next time he could build a sand turtle, then all these turtles could come alive and fly.
Isaac: I would build a sand dragon!
Dad: Did you guys know this book changed my life?
Isaac: It did?
Dad: I saw this cover years ago, and it was at that moment I knew I wanted to be an illustrator. I was in a library, reading a magazine -- I looked up and those cats were staring at me from across the room. I looked down, then back up, and they were still staring at me. I had to walk across the room and pick up this book. I had to look at it.
Gracie: Like they were saying "Open it, already!"
Dad: And I was smitten by the children's book bug. These cats were screaming at me with their eyes. And everything changed. That was the moment I knew -- this is what I want to do.
Isaac: I love that front cover too. I'd like to have that picture hanging up in my room.
Author/Illustrator: Eric Rohmann
Published, 1997: Knopf
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