Time Cat

by Lloyd Alexander

Paperback, 2004



Call number




Puffin (2004), Edition: Puffin Modern Classics, 224 pages


Jason and his magic cat Gareth travel through time to visit countries all over the world during different periods of history.

User reviews

LibraryThing member Murphy-Jacobs
In fifth grade, right after my mom remarried and we moved to a new area with a new school where I didn't fit in and grew to hate, I got in trouble -- as recorded on my report card -- for "reading inappropriately". That is, I tended to keep books tucked under the edge of my old fashioned school desk
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where I could pull them out and read when the lessons got boring.

The only good thing about my new school was that it had a library I had not explored. It was much smaller than my old school's library, but on the shelves at the very back, near a tall, skinny window, about two shelves from the top in the corner, I found this book. I had not yet discovered fantasy and science fiction -- that would come in 6th grade -- but Alexander's book was an important gateway to the genres for me. It had everything to attract me -- a magical, time traveling cat (during the move, I'd had to leave behind my pet cat -- my mother didn't have much attachment to pets and thought the cat would be just as happy with someone else) and I'd long used books to escape from my young life's difficulties, as is common with kids who have a little more than the usual amount of disruption in their lives) who could take his boy through history and into all kinds of adventures was irresistible. Falling in love with this book turned me toward the science fiction and fantasy that would fuel me for so many years that dreary year of adjustments and "reading inappropriately".
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LibraryThing member xicanti
What a fun book! I wish I’d read it when I was little; I think I’d have gotten a big kick out of it. Though it’s presented as a novel, the book is really more a series of nine short stories that follow Jason and his cat, Gareth, as they travel through time. They meet an interesting cast of
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characters along the way, including such real historical figures as Saint Patrick and Leonardo da Vinci.

I loved how the book was set up; though Jason and Gareth never spend very long in each place, they’re there long enough to learn some important lessons about life. Alexander resists the temptation to elaborate on these lessons; though there are some obvious points, it’s up to the reader to figure out just what went on. I think that this leaves some interesting possibilities for discussion, making this a good book for parents and younger children to read together.

The book was a little more juvenile than I was expecting; the story is presented much more simply than anything else I’ve read by Alexander, and the characters feel more like an excuse for the events rather than compelling people in their own right. Still, it was fun and enjoyable. I’d definitely recommend it for children between five and ten who like cats or history, or anyone looking for a quick, fun children’s read.
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LibraryThing member kraaivrouw
Lloyd Alexander has always been one of my favorite authors - his Taran Wanderer series were the first chapter books that I read on my own. I remember my mother saying that she knew reading with me was about to change when I started reading ahead in these books - we might read aloud together in the
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future, but more often than not I'd probably head off on my own.

I really like another one of his books, The Marvelous Misadventures of Sebastian - so much that the last cat I had with my folks before I left for college was named Sebastian. He was an amazing and much loved cat who I still miss.

I'm not sure how I missed this one, but since I'm reading books published in my birth year and this is one of those it made the list. Alexander obviously loved cats. It's great how real his kitties feel to me - aloof, mildly dangerous, affectionate at times, smart, and wily. This is a series of nine stories set in different historical times where cats made the difference. The illustrations by Bill Sokol are whimsical and fun, the stories are great, and there's a cat. What more could you want?
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LibraryThing member auntieknickers
A fine time travel adventure with a cat -- what could be better?
LibraryThing member beserene
This children's book reads like a kid's-eye-tour of ancient history. Jason and his cat, Gareth, travel through time to nine different historical times/places (everything from ancient Egypt to 1600's Germany) and experience brief adventures in each. The adventures get a little repetitive if you read
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too much of the story at once, but this would be perfect for reading aloud a chapter at a time and sparking a child's interest in times past.
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LibraryThing member rosedrakon
If you are either a history or cat fan than I highly recommend this book. Although it does lean towards being a kid's book, you won't walk away from it without learning something new....
LibraryThing member jjmcgaffey
Cute and fun. The last chapter gets a little annoying, with a heavy-handed 'there was a LESSON in this' message, but overall it's pretty neat. Interesting mix of places/people, with a few where they may have had an important influence on major historical characters, and others where the people they
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meet are very unlikely to have made any major mark on history, they just make an interesting story. Overall, not bad, not wonderful.
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LibraryThing member jennorthcoast
Loved this book, another favorite childhood read.
LibraryThing member t1bclasslibrary
In this story Jason goes back in time with his cat, Gareth. They visit nine times and places and make a difference in a cat's life, a person's life, and history in general. This book is fascinating partially because at the end, Gareth tells Jason that they went on these journeys in order to train
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Jason as a sort of coming of age thing. This means that students reading this can go back to each section of the book and think about what Jason was meant to learn each time- advanced critical thinking! This is also a book that lends itself to further research (especially since there were some historical inaccuracies), and might be a good basis for a unit on fantasy or historical fiction writing.
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LibraryThing member LibraryCin
3.5 stars

Jason has a black cat (Gareth), who Jason discovers can time travel! Gareth can travel to different times and places and decides to take Jason along with him to a few different places. Along the way, Jason (and the people they visit in the various times and places) learns a little bit
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about cat behaviour.

I enjoyed it. I will admit that I've been quite distracted while reading some parts of it, so I did lose concentration (and miss things) occasionally. I really did enjoy the parts I paid more attention to, though. It's a little bit like short stories, as each time/place had about two chapters apiece before they moved on. It was originally published in 1963, but my edition was published in 2003 and included a short, but interesting author's note.
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LibraryThing member jmoncton
In Time Cat, Gareth, the cat does have 9 lives and his owner, Jason, gets to visit every one of them. It was an ok story, a little predictable - definitely not as good as Lloyd Alexander's Book of Three series. It's most redeeming quality was that Gareth and Jason visit many different places
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throughout history - ancient Egypt, Rome, Greece, the American colonies, etc.
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LibraryThing member simchaboston
Fun but a bit repetitive. The place, time and people change with each visit by Jason and his cat, but the moral lessons are pretty similar and not that subtly conveyed. Still good as a light read-aloud story for bedtime, though, and it did inspire us to do a little historical research. Who knew
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there was a legend about the Manx cat coming from the Spanish Armada?
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LibraryThing member Cheryl_in_CC_NV
I'm a little uncomfortable with the history. Granted I haven't studied much world history since I was in school during the 1970s, but this seemed awfully comfortable with cliches and stereotypes. On the other hand, it's better than the virtually nothing some kids get. I did like how it got a little
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more complex at the end, finally acknowledging that maybe the kid would eventually miss his own home and family (at first he was pretty blase'). Definitely a juvenile - maybe one step more challenging than the Magic Treehouse series.
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LibraryThing member MarthaJeanne
I gave up half way through. If you are a preteen who likes cats and don't know anything about history, you might enjoy this.
LibraryThing member nx74defiant
I liked this book

They went to Egypt. In Britain they met the future St. Patrick, When the future Patrick was talking about things I kept thinking - "well do something about it" in the future he will.

In Italy the young Leonardo was adorable
LibraryThing member fuzzi
Amusing story of a boy whose cat takes him back in time to different places and cultures.
LibraryThing member antiquary
Rather disappointing; inferior to the Prydain series. Nice concept that a boy is taken by his cat to visit 9 different past time from ancient Egypt to Colonial America, but the stories are rather repetitious.
LibraryThing member varielle
Time Cat is a cute story of a boy and his time traveling cat. Gareth the cat has a mark shaped like an ankh on his chest. He transports his boy Jason through time where they share many adventures from ancient Egypt to witch hunting times and more. There are shades of Mr. Peabody and Sherman, if
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you’re old enough to remember the WABAC machine.
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Original publication date


Physical description

224 p.; 7.08 inches




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