Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Cay (The Cay, #1)” as Want to Read:
The Cay (The Cay, #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Cay

(The Cay #1)

3.77  ·  Rating details ·  31,469 ratings  ·  2,463 reviews
Phillip is excited when the Germans invade the small island of Curaçao. War has always been a game to him, and he’s eager to glimpse it firsthand–until the freighter he and his mother are traveling to the United States on is torpedoed.
   When Phillip comes to, he is on a small raft in the middle of the sea. Besides Stew Cat, his only companion is an old West Indian, Timoth
Paperback, 156 pages
Published April 8th 2003 by Laurel Leaf (first published 1969)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Cay, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.77  · 
Rating details
 ·  31,469 ratings  ·  2,463 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Cay (The Cay, #1)
A. Dawes
Jun 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children-s
This was our Grade 6 novel and it was the first book that had me in tears.

Young Phillip was on a freighter, which was blown up. Blinded, he only has a cat and an elderly Black West Indian, Timothy, with him on the small raft of survivors. Phillip, as per the era, has been 'warned' about the vast differences between Whites and Blacks. Yet when they arrive on the island, it is the West Indian who shows courage, grit and warmth to help them survive for the time being .

I won't spoil it, but it's a
Manuel Antão
Dec 02, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 1981
If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.

Childhood Reading: "The Cay" by Theodore Taylor

Original Review, 1981-02-15)

I have some sympathy with some people in the sense that it is disappointing to re-read a cherished childhood book and have these once-unquestioned prejudices jump off the page. Quite disconcerting. However, when we were ourselves children, it was water off a duck's back. We were reading for the story, not the attitudes.
Helen Pontak
Sep 02, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Adventure loving people
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 29, 2019 rated it liked it

I LOVED reading this. It had so much depth for a young adult to read. I also learned how this island was Nazi targeted. It makes me realize how much I don't know or how much "they" try to hide about history. Soon we will all forget there were any world wars at all....

Set in WWII in the Dutch Island of El Curacao, the American 11yr old originally from Virginia, Phillip tells us what is going on in his world. Ultimately, his mom decides to go back to the states for fear of being bombed but th
Nov 10, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Jen by: D'Ette Marceaux
D'Ette had to read this book for school and she loved it. She asked me if I would also read it.

It's a children's book, so it doesn't take long to read. I read the whole thing in about two hours.

It's easy to see why the book won literary awards and was made into a movie. It's a great story, told from the point-of-view of 12-year-old Philip, who gets lost at sea with a black man after the boat he is traveling in with his mother is attacked by Germans. Philip loses his sight and is forced to learn
Mary Grace
This is the best book eva!!!!! It is so sweet! I cried my eyes out at the end though!
M.M. Strawberry Library & Reviews
I read this book a LONG time ago, in elementary school (fifth or sixth grade?) and what drew me to it was the cover, with the old black man holding/cuddling the cat. As a cat person, I liked the cover, but was disappointed there wasn't more cat in the story :P

There is not much I remember about this book because damn, trying to remember a book I read ages ago makes me feel like a old fart. This is a children's/YA book so it's a relatively quick read, with a nice ending and a message about not bei
Marika Gillis
I read this book with my students when I was a 5th grade teacher in Virginia... four times. However, I don't remember enjoying the book as much then as I did this year.

A 12-year-old boy, Phillip, and an old black sailor, Timothy, are stranded on a tiny Caribbean island after their boat is attacked by the Germans near Curacao during World War II. Phillip has been blinded as a result of the shipwreck and must rely on Timothy to help him survive on the island.

Theodore Taylor effectively illustrate
Abbey Cupcake
Apr 08, 2009 rated it really liked it
It was good but in some parts it was sad
The Insane Psychopath Jane Volturi
This book is...amazing. It makes you think of so many things. It makes you realize what truly is wrong with the world, and how messed up it was before.
Lizzy (Bent Bookworm)
Sep 21, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2017
~*Full review here on The Bent Bookworm!*~

I wasn’t at all sure what to expect going into this. I’d never heard of the book or the author despite it apparently being a “children’s classic” (??), but Gary Paulsen (didn’t we all read Hatchet?) wrote the introduction so I thought it surely couldn’t be too bad. I was super skeptical though, on reading the blurb…I mean, it’s clearly meant to be a demonstration of how we are all PEOPLE above whatever color our skin is, but I was concerned that a book w
Ian Mclean
Apr 12, 2010 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
me: 5 stars
son (age 10): 4.5 stars
daughter (age 5): 5 stars

This audio book was a winner with all of us! My son is currently interested in survival type stories, so I picked out a couple to listen to this month. This is the first of the two.

This is the story of an 11 year old boy, Philip, who ends up stranded on a small remote island with an old West Indian man named Timothy, and a cat named Stew Cat after the ship they were on was torpedoed. To add to their worries over being stranded, Philip be
Ilena Andaluz
Would you like to know why this was a great book? This was a great book because it had interesting things that happens and big plot events that happens. Also, there were lots of sad parts that happened. So I guess this book was full of emotions. Overall that is why I like this book.
Renee Armitage
Dec 14, 2013 rated it liked it
“The Cay”
Renee Armitage
The Cay by Theodore Taylor .Phillip Enright is a young 11 year old boy living on a small island named Curacao in the middle of a war with the Germans .In this novel there are many hidden messages one of which is that you don’t live by sight. This novel is an inspiring “Castaway” like novel but with a racial twist. Phillip a small 11 year old white boy and Timothy is a large 70ish black man who are now trapped together with the cook’s cat named Stew Cat on a raft in the

17/12 - A reasonably simple story of a young white boy, Phillip, who is marooned on a desert island with an older, black West Indian man, Timothy and the ship's cat. During the torpedo attack that sinks the ship they were travelling on Phillip receives a head injury that eventually steals his sight leaving him totally dependent on Timothy. To start with Phillip is quite rude to Timothy and tries to order him around, but he eventually comes to realise that while Timothy may talk different
Sophie Schiller
May 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I'll never forget the day (1975) my fourth grade class in St. Thomas discovered this book on our library shelves. One look at the cover and we all fought over it tooth and nail. Over the next several weeks, this was the most checked-out book in the school library. And for good reason. The protagonist, Phillip, was easily-relatable, and Timothy, the aged deckhand from Charlotte Amalie who saves his life, could have been any one of a number of old men we saw sitting around Emancipation Park, or ov ...more
John Yelverton
Jul 31, 2011 rated it it was amazing
A sweet and beautiful story about friendship and survival from two very unlikely but lovable companions.
Nov 07, 2013 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Rachel Terry
Feb 07, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: juvie
I read this aloud to the kids. We stayed up until 11:00 Friday night: "Mom, just one more chapter. Please!"

It's set during WWII in the Caribbean. An American boy and an elderly Caribbean man get stuck on a raft together when their boat is sunk by a German torpedo. Dis dialect be outrageous fun to read, bahss.
Sample Student
Feb 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The Cay, written by Theodore Taylor, is a story set in 1942 during World War II. Phillip Enright, the 11 year-old main character, is excited when the Germans invade the small island of Curaçao. He is a naive character, and since war has always been a game to him, and he’s eager to glimpse it firsthand (p. 11)–until the freighter he and his mother are traveling to the United States on is torpedoed. When Phillip comes to, he is on a small raft in the middle of the sea. Besides Stew Cat, his only ...more
This one was a life changer for me. . . This is one of those rare stories that feels so complete it 's rolled around and around in my thoughts since we've finished it. Read it on a rainy day when you might be feeling sorry for yourself.

I LOVED the development of Philip throughout the story; lots of authors strive to create a dynamic character that matures throughout the story, but this authors really does accomplish it, and brilliantly. It's the line in the story when Phillip hollers, "They've
Nov 17, 2009 rated it it was amazing

This book is really interesting. If I where the author I would never come out with this idea. I love this book since the beginning. This book is about a boy named Philip who is in the middle of a war and his father is in the battle. One day his mother and father where talking and came up with the idea to go to live for a few months to a safer place. When they get on the ship a torpedo falls in the boat and he gets lost and separate with his mom and he gets lost in the sea with Timothy, a black m
I thought that this book was a action and adventure excellence. While reading this book I realized skin color does not matter at all. The bond that Timothy and Phillip develop is a heart warming friendship. This story was about a ship wreck that brought two different types of people with two very different lives together. I would recommend this book to anybody. All ages would enjoy the crazy adventure Phillip over comes in life. He finds out that black people are nicer than he thought and are sm ...more
“I remember smiling in the darkness. He felt neither white or black.”

Award-winning young readers novel set in the Caribbean Sea during World War Two. A white boy and an old black sailor man find themselves adrift with little hope of rescue … and the boy is blind.

“Voodoo is silly, I knew, but also frightening.”

Published in 1969, this is good story telling. The eleven-year-old protagonist sounds and feels real. His attitudes and reactions ring true. He grows … a lot.

“But dis year [1942], d’sea is
Erin Forson
Dec 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Sometimes it's fun to pick up a favorite old novel so that you can savor the experience of loving the words the author has written all over again. The Cay is a novel like this. I first read The Cay perhaps fifteen years ago, a novel that I remember was outstanding and filled with action, but I couldn't quite remember why it stuck in my heart. I checked The Cay out during spring break to read over again, and I was not disappointed. Phillip Enright, a spoiled little white boy, is stranded on a tin ...more
Nov 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone
Full review at Smoke & Mirrors: Stayed up too late last night finishing this one, but I couldn't stop!! I thought I would just read a few pages before going to bed, but that turned into reading the rest of the book! This is so very poignant! I can only imagine the shock of those who arrived on the island. I was very glad for the ending. I had remembered the death, but had forgotten the cure! :) I can see why I loved this as a child and I loved it just as ...more
Lisbeth Solberg
Sep 17, 2007 rated it it was ok
Having previously noted the imagery of this version's cover, it was difficult to ignore the homoeroticism of the hurricane scene. It was like a Barbie rescue fantasy only with Ken and Alan--crushed together, whipped naked by the storm, sticky with body fluids in the exhausted aftermath--I'm not kidding. Can you tell I teach middle school?
Based on a true story, in 1944 or 45, Philip is shipwrecked on a life raft with Timothy (a black man) and a cat, with no hope of rescue.

This book could be good if you ignored the racism and ableism, and generally harmful messages **so spoilers but it's not that hard to find if you literally just look at the questions**

***Just a quick disclaimer: I am white, and I am bodily able, so I may not be the best voice in this, but if you were to read this book, you should know these things as they may be
Jan 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I’m so glad I decided to read this childhood favorite again. It’s such a beautiful tale that truly makes a home in your heart ♥️, and it still makes me tear up which honestly very few books ever manage to do. The way the author combines literal and figurative circumstances to fit the moral take away is done with such natural ease and finesse that you don’t mind how short the tale is or the details left out because it’s perfect for its intended audience as stated by the quote at the start of the ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Sees Behind Trees
  • Hatchet (Brian's Saga, #1)
  • The Sign of the Beaver
  • Guts & Glory: The Vikings
  • Loretta Mason Potts
  • The New Normal
  • Maniac Magee
  • Island of the Blue Dolphins
  • Tuck Everlasting
  • Where the Red Fern Grows
  • Because of Winn-Dixie
  • Esperanza Rising
  • Shiloh (Shiloh, #1)
  • The Nazi Hunters
  • By the Great Horn Spoon!
  • Touching Spirit Bear
  • Stranded
  • Freak the Mighty (Freak The Mighty, #1)
See similar books…
Librarian Note: There is more than one author by this name in the Goodreads database.

Other books in the series

The Cay (2 books)
  • Timothy of the Cay (The Cay, #2)

Related Articles

Thirty-four years after the publication of her dystopian classic, The Handmaid's Tale, Atwood returns to continue the story of Offred. We talked wi...
358 likes · 58 comments
“This would be an outrageous cay man” 5 likes
“The warm sand did feel good on my feet and now I was almost glad that we didn’t have to spend another night on the hard, wet boards of the raft.” 0 likes
More quotes…