The Blue Cat

Ursula Dubosarsky

The Blue Cat
Allen & Unwin
29 March 2017

The Blue Cat

Ursula Dubosarsky

A boy stood in the playground under the big fig tree. ‘He can’t speak English,’ the children whispered.

Sydney, 1942. The war is coming to Australia - not only with the threat of bombardment, but also the arrival of refugees from Europe. Dreamy Columba’s world is growing larger. She is drawn to Ellery, the little boy from far away, and, together with her highly practical best friend Hilda, the three children embark on an adventure through the harbour-side streets - a journey of discovery and terror, in pursuit of the mysterious blue cat …


Told from the point of view of a young girl called Columba, The Blue Cat by Ursula Dubosarsky is a strange little tale in which not much really happens at all. Set during World War II in Sydney, it mostly covers what happens during Columba’s days: bits of conversations she overhears about the war from her parents, neighbours or teachers; dramatic interpretations of war news by her loud, brash friend, Hilda; and a mysterious new foreign boy, Ellery from ‘You-rope’ who speaks no English.

Ellery is said to be German and Jewish, and Columba is told, by her teachers and her mother, only to be kind to him. She finds herself drawn to him. The book comes to a close when Hilda, Ellery and Columba race through Luna Park to find a missing cat – but The Blue Cat doesn’t end, not really. It sort of fades out slowly so you only catch misty snatches of a near future and when you’ve finally closed the book and think back you’re not sure you didn’t just dream the whole thing up yourself. A great read for 10–12 year olds.

Dani Solomon

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