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Toes [Paperback]

Tor Seidler
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

Feb. 9 2006

When a litter of cats is born into the McDonahue family, one kitten stands out from the rest. Intelligent and aptly named, Toes has seven toes on each foot. The other kittens tease him and refuse to include him in their games. So one night, a lonely Toes flees his house and takes refuge in a strange basement, where a struggling musician named Sebastian eventually finds him. It doesn't take Sebastian long to realize that this is no ordinary cat. 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.

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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
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Gr. 4-6. It's no wonder that the kitten is named "Toes"; he was born with seven of them on each foot! And it's no wonder-- since he's different--that his siblings callously shun him. Left to his own devices, Toes discovers a "magic window" (readers will recognize it as a television set) that becomes his de facto teacher, helping him understand human ways and language. His knowledge stands him in good stead when a mean-spirited prank by his siblings renders him lost and alone. He's not lonely for long, however; he discovers a new home with another outsider, a young musician whose life Toes changes. Though a bit slower paced and less richly imagined than some of Seidler's earlier books, this wryly amusing title still offers many delights and diversions (Toe's ingenious efforts at surviving in a human world). Best of all, however, is its stirring celebration of the power--and incalculable value--of selfless friendship. Michael Cart
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most helpful customer reviews
A litter of cats is born into the McDonahue family. One kitten is shunned by the rest of the litter and becomes a favorite of the family due to his physical appearance and intelligence. The unusual kitten is named Toes because he has seven toes on each foot instead of five. The family soon realizes that Toes is not an ordinary cat. He loves listening to classical music, watching sports on TV, and riding in the car. His brothers and sisters are jealous of the attention that Toes receives from the family. They tease him and exclude him from all of their activities.
Toes is tired of being shunned by his siblings and decides to leave the McDonahue house. He sets out on an adventure one evening and takes refuge from the rain in the basement of a run-down house. A struggling musician named Sebastian soon befriends the extraordinary cat. When Toes learns of Sebastian's musical ambitions, he devises a plan to help him.
The lovable feline in TOES will steal the hearts of children, and the heartwarming ending will touch all readers, both young and old.
--- (...)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars  13 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A sentimental cat mommy writes July 2 2006
By MJ - Published on Amazon.com
I came close to skipping this book because of some of the reviews, which warned me that the book might be upsetting to an overly sentimental cat mommy like myself. But the beautiful friendship between Toes and his dad made all the sadness of reading about Toes' early life worthwhile. It reminded me of my relationship with my cat. (Like Toes, he is a music lover who enjoys getting close when I practice my singing.) Toes and Minerva are the enraptured audience of a lonely, self-critical classical violinist, and Toes' brave action in disregard of his own advancing age bring a wonderful change to his dad's life. Toes and Minerva themselves develop a caring, touching friendship, despite the natural enmity between their species. The theme of the aging and loss of a cherished animal companion, although it will sadden a loving cat mom (or dad), was handled sensitively and caringly.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Toes Nov. 1 2006
A Kid's Review - Published on Amazon.com
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Toes May 12 2006
By Haven 12 - Published on Amazon.com
Tor Seidler writes another touching and realistic book about the relationship between human and animal.Toes shows more humanity than many humans in the way he cares for his frustrated "new" owner, the classical violinist. A must read for 5th grade and up. Well done!
4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sad but beautiful May 18 2005
By A. Elias - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I have to respond to the "Reader in Vancouver" who slammed this book. My daughters, who are 8 and 6 (and advanced readers, as well as cat lovers) loved this book, and so did I. No, Toes's abilities are not realistic, yet neither is the book a magical fantasy. It's more the sort of story one would make up about a beloved cat. I cried at the end, when Toes is dying, but it's important for children to learn that death is an inevitable part of life. Toes's death is sad, but his life and what he does for his friend, the musician, mean that his memory will live on. I would especially recommend this book for families where a beloved pet (or family member, for that matter) is growing old. Its lesson might help provide comfort when a child has to deal with grief.
1.0 out of 5 stars didn't meet our expectations July 1 2014
By ctnmom - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
if anyone has read Mean Margaret by Tor Seidler and liked it, you might be as dissapointed in Toes as we were. S L O W moving. My kids and I enjoyed Mean Margaret as a nighttime read together, anticipating each new chapter but this one was a big bore. Nothing about this book grabbed our attention. We tried and tried but now it just sits on the shelf unfinished.
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