Tor Seidler's sweet and humorous story about Toes, the runt of a litter of cats who is born with seven toes on each paw.
Intelligent and aptly named, Toes has seven toes on each foot. The other kittens, fearing his condition might be contagious, refuse to play with him. So one night, a lonely Toes runs away. He takes refuge in a strange basement, where a struggling musician named Sebastian eventually finds him. As he grapples with his own insecurities as a violinist, Sebastian learns from Toes that the most beautiful duet can be the one made by true friendship.
National Book Award finalist Tor Seidler once again introduces an endearing animal who will live in readers' hearts forever.
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Born in Littleton, New Hampshire, Tor Seidler grew up in Vermont and later, Seattle, Washington, in both of which places his parents were involved in the theater. Encouraged by his family's love of the arts, Mr. Seidler studied English literature at Stanford University, and at the age of twenty-seven his first book, The Dulcimer Boy, was published, launching his celebrated career as a writer.
Over the past twenty years, Mr. Seidler has become one of the most important voices in children's fiction with such classics as, A Rat's Tale, The Wainscott Weasel, an ALA Notable Book, Terpin, and Mean Margaret, which was selected as a finalist for the National Book Award in 1997. He currently lives in New York City.
Eric Beddows illustrated the Zoom series, for which he has twice won Canada's Amelia Frances Howard-Gibbon Illustrator's Award; the Newbery-winning Joyful Noise: Poems for Two Voices, and Shadow Play, both by Paul Fleischman. He lives in Stratford, Ontario, Canada.From School Library Journal:
Grade 4-6–Named for the seven digits on each of his four feet, Toes is a highly intelligent kitten, and so different from his siblings that they reject him. His mother dies mysteriously, and he flees the house to escape his siblings' torments. After a grim, lonely period trapped in a basement, he moves in with a sad violinist who auditioned for the local orchestra several times but was not accepted. Their friendship develops and culminates in Toe's act of great heroism: he makes a dangerous journey to Philharmonic Hall, steals the conductor's prized baton, and leads the woman back to Sebastian's home, where she hears him play and offers him a job. Now old and near death, and not wanting his human friend "to find his corpse and get depressed," Toes drags himself to his mother's grave and dies on his seventh birthday. Small, black-and-white sketches of the cat in different poses begin each chapter. Unfortunately, this lugubrious fantasy requires a huge suspension of disbelief and a willingness to overlook internal inconsistencies and unexplained plot aspects (cats and mice can converse, but birds cannot; Toes is unable to read words but "thanks to all the sports he'd watched" he understands written birth and death dates; no explanation is given for why all of the cats in the story die at age five to seven). Despite much drama and pathos, Toes keeps his distance and readers will find him difficult to cuddle up to.–Susan Patron, Los Angeles Public Library
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