In Maddy’s absence, will Marmalade and Ella become friends?
One autumn day, Maddy tells Ella that her family is leaving for a year. Maddy also asks Ella to watch her orange tabby cat, Marmalade. Both Ella and Marmalade cry as Maddy’s family drives off. Ella tries all the things she liked doing with Maddy....She tosses leaves, but Marmalade doesn’t toss them back. She picks apples, but Marmalade just bats them away. She stomps through puddles, but she’s the only one that gets wet. Then one winter day, Ella wakes with warm feet (Marmalade’s been snuggling), and later Marmalade “reads” with her by the fireside. In spring, they dig in the garden, and they visit the beach in summer. When Maddy returns with autumn, all three friends enjoy every season together. Prolific Australian author Reynolds’ tale of friendship and seasons is a heartwarming one. Ella and Marmalade’s relationship develops slowly as the year progresses. McKenzie’s pen-and-ink illustrations, partially colored with watercolors, are sweet, wide-eyed and dynamic, often flowing along with the type. Though it’s odd that the reason for Maddy’s lengthy absence is never revealed, audiences will identify with Ella and her uncertainty with a new pet.
Expressive Marmalade with his large green eyes will definitely charm cat lovers. (Picture book. 3-7)