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The Blue Cat

3.46  ·  Rating details ·  124 ratings  ·  29 reviews
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
Paperback, 176 pages
Published April 2017 by Allen & Unwin (first published March 29th 2017)
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Average rating 3.46  · 
Rating details
 ·  124 ratings  ·  29 reviews

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Michael Earp
Mar 16, 2017 rated it liked it
Atmosphere. That's where this book excels. If you want to step back into a dreamlike state of what life for a child in Sydney might have been like in 1942 during the war, this book is perfect. Beautifully written.
Apr 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
Wonderfully executed story about WW2 in Sydney, told through the eyes of a child.
Affecting and unexpected.

Dimity Powell
Aug 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kids-lit
Ethereal and elegant, The Blue Cat slinks through your imagination with an almost unearthly inference. Columba's 11-year-0ld take on a world in mid-war upheaval is refreshingly uncontaminated and jolly. This is a captivating tale of two worlds colliding, an example of one of those brief chapters in the story of your life that will remain with you forever.
This is a beautiful book of evocative language, incredible imagery and rich symbolism. Set in Sydney in 1942, The Blue Cat is a deceptively simple story of a young girl, Columba, her best friend, Hilda and a young Jewish refugee, Ellory. It is the story of Australian school aged children during World War 2. It is a story of small mischiefs and big hopes, tinged with the fear of war that occasionally enroaches into their world. Through Columba's story is woven a thread of a story of a mysterious ...more
This was a complete impulse pick up from the library after I needed a book with a creature name in the title for a book challenge. This was short and the summary sounded interesting so I picked it up.

Columba is living in Sydney in 1942 when a little boy, Ellery, comes to her school from Europe. He doesn't speak any English but Columba befriends him anyway. Interwoven with the texts are historical documents and photos from the time itself, lending a grounding air to the book which has such
Kelly (Diva Booknerd)
The air raid siren wails throughout Sydney harbour while American Warships dapple across the horizon. The war has reached the Australian shoreline with the Japanese military threatening a hostile destruction of the land. For Columba this is simply how we survive, we live in each moment.

While the city of Paris falls to the Germanic forces, European refugees are migrating to Australia, fractured and displaced by conflict. Ellery is a Jewish boy, withdrawn and unable to verbally communicate.
Kathleen Dixon
Jul 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Kathleen by: the Bookshop
We've had an unproofed edition out the back of the bookshop where I work, so I decided to take it home and read it. Lovely title; great cover picture.

This story is set in Sydney, Australia during the Second World War. Columba - named after a nun who had been very special to her mother - gives her child's view of home (where there's just the three of them tiptoeing around each other), friends (especially Hilda, who is always decisive and who has an amazing and noisy family), and school (with the
Feb 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a lovely slice of life from a child’s point of view; school age at the start of world war 2 and growing up in Neutral Bay. It is a beautifully written and sensitively told story that is definitely worth the couple of hours it takes to read it. I loved this book and place it beside the boy in the striped pajamas as one of those insightful tales that when told from a child’s perspective makes one think differently about some of the issues we faced then and now.
Sean Harding
Apr 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
Another Dubosarsky and this is for older readers and is the story of a friendship of a young Australian girl and a Jewish refugee boy during world war two.
Told without revealing everything, and with remarkable illustrations which are actual pictures of things of the time, this book is very effective in telling a story and learning about the time period.
Beautifully written and very effective, with a satisfying ending.
Sharlene Evans
Mar 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
Like listening to stories of old times, making connections with the now you know and the old of where the character is, this story places the reader in the world of a child in 1942 Sydney with the threat of war imminently present. This is a book that I feel needs the joint effort of a book club to truly uncover the mystery of the cat and the boy who cannot speak any English. Loved the detail of historical artifacts - even more details a book club could explore with much discussion!
Dana Dunham
May 10, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: won-giveaways
Disclaimer: I won this book in a Goodreads giveaway, however, the review is entirely my own opinion on the book and was not influenced in any way. I liked this book. I think for the age group it's aimed towards, it's really well written and a really interesting story. I will say though that the ending came faster than I expected and it ended really suddenly, which was the only thing I didn't quite like about it. Overall though, it was a really good book and I'm glad I got the chance to read it.
Jan 19, 2020 rated it it was ok

Columba was a young girl when World War two started. She talks about her experience in Australia such as the drought, bomb threats, blackouts, the threat of invasion and meeting Ellery a German and a mysterious stray blue cat. Columba tries to make sense of what’s happening around her.
Susan Nixon
Jul 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book was a story about being a child during WW2 Sydney and contained some interesting primary source details! The atmosphere of the book is amazing and the story gently unfolds but you do get to the end of the book and it suddenly ends leaving you with unanswered questions - despite this it is an enjoyable read!
Aug 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: middle-school
A beautifully written story about Australia during the second World War set in Sydney. Written through the eyes of a young 12 year old girl and her fascination and friendship with a newcomer to her school from Europe.
Pina Carrubba
Sep 29, 2017 rated it liked it
I would recommend this book to young people exploring life in Australia, particularly Sydney during WW2. No kids on computers or phones, just soft hot summers playing and exploring their world.
Andrew Hall
May 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
I won this beautifully written story in a goodreads giveaway. I was totally immersed in the story from the very first word.
Jun 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Love this author's writing. Lovely evocative piece. Educational seeing govt documents pertaining to WW2 regulations for Australian civilians. Shown, not told. Enjoyed this very much.
Sep 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
Sweet, short story told exceptionally well.
Could have been padded out a bit towards the end, especially when the war got closer to Sydney.
Mar 04, 2018 rated it liked it
3.5 stars, it was really cute!!!!
Anna Davidson
A strange, whimsical story about life as a child in Sydney during World War 2. The significance of the cat was a little lost on me. I loved the inclusion of historical photographs and documents.
Mar 13, 2017 rated it liked it
Some lovely moments but the ending was a little too abrupt for me.
This was a sweet story and a pretty realistic look at war through the eyes of an eleven year old. Though, I wish we’d gotten more of the cat.
Mar 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
The Blue cat was an interesting read. I loved the extras that littered the book. The newspaper clippings, photos, advertisements and public notices were fascinating.
The story follows some children in Sydney during 1942. We see what their lives are like and how the war changes their lives. Day light savings and severe water restrictions come in to effect. The harbour is filled with warships and refugees are coming to the neighbourhood.
Columba, Hilda and Ellery form a friendship even though
Clare Snow
Strange but perfect. I felt like Neutral Bay was another character, shadowing Columba and Ellery like a blue midnight cat. My Dad grew up in Neutral Bay, but in the 1950s.

I loved the pictures and other primary sources. The double page spread of the night sky is phenomenal.

I suggested this for my Book Group and they bent to my will - we will get through my TBR if it kills us. On Wednesday I'll hear what everyone else thinks.
rated it liked it
Apr 15, 2017
Apr 30, 2017 rated it liked it
Review coming to my blog soon;

Read for Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon April17
Maria Muse
rated it really liked it
Dec 29, 2018
sunsera uzeal
rated it it was amazing
Mar 15, 2017
rated it really liked it
Dec 02, 2018
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Ursula Dubosarsky is an award-winning author of numerous books for children and young adults. About The Golden Day, her first book with Candlewick Press, she says, "The little girls watch, wonder, respond, change, and grow — and then their childhood is gone, forever. This element of the story, I suppose, is at least partly autobiographical. But, as I say — all of our teachers come home safe and ...more
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“Hilda was philosophical. That means you think everything will turn out for best, according to my father. Or if you don't actually think it, you pretend to.” 0 likes
“I had never heard Ellery laugh before, not out loud. I loved the sound, it filled me up. It tinkled like a magic bird.” 0 likes
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