The Blue Cat (Ursula Dubosarsky, A&U)
Slow, dreamlike and meandering, The Blue Cat is a glimpse into life in wartime Australia. Set in Sydney in 1942, it follows Columba in her adventures with her force-of-nature best friend Hilda and the new student at their school, Ellery—the boy running from the war in far-away Europe. Together they search for the beautiful blue cat that suddenly moved in next door and just as suddenly disappeared. The Blue Cat is gorgeously written and wildly evocative of wartime Sydney, exploring a time when the war has drawn closer to home, both through the bombings in Darwin and the arrival of refugees. Columba’s quiet confusion is a perfect introduction to this time and place, and as small as her world is, the story is certainly well-placed within the wider historical context. The inclusion of primary sources adds a layer of authenticity while also highlighting some uncomfortable truths about the treatment of refugees, both then and now. With an almost fairytale feel, The Blue Cat takes readers on a strange journey into a time of constant change and fear. It’s perfect for ages 10 and up.
Meg Whelan is the children’s book buyer at the Hill of Content Bookshop