Staff review by Chris Saliba
Ursula Dubosarsky writes about Sydney during the Second World War, from a child's perspective.
Columba is a young girl trying to come to grips with a world that is strangely changing, and perhaps not for the better. The year is 1942, the place Sydney, Australia. She hears stories around her, especially from her brassy friend Hilda, that a frightening war is happening overseas. Then the war comes one step closer in the person of Ellery, a mysterious young boy from Europe. Ellery is German-Jewish, doesn’t speak English and is a refugee. The book ends on a hazy, dreamy note, with Columba, Ellery and Hilda running through Luna Park in pursuit of a missing cat, the blue cat of the title.
The Blue Cat is an impressionistic story, told gently in a patchwork fashion. (The text is accompanied by photographs from the era.) Told from a child’s perspective, the reader gets glimpses of the adult world during the upheaval of wartime - news stories of the Nazis occupying Paris and the bombing of Darwin, neighbourhood gossip, the gruff comments of Columba’s father. For young readers (10-14) interested in trying to imagine what it might have been like living in Australia during the Second World War, then The Blue Cat provides a moving story to contemplate.
The Blue Cat, by Ursula Dubosarsky. Published by Allen and Unwin. ISBN: 9781760292294 RRP: $19.99
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