The Blue Cat by Ursula Dubosarsky
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 is a children’s and YA specialist at Readings Kids.