A Year with Marmalade

Alison Reynolds, illus. by Heath McKenzie. S&S/Little Simon, $15.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-4424-8105-3
In a story first published in Australia, Reynolds and McKenzie take readers through the four seasons, as one friendship takes a temporary hiatus and another one is born. When Maddy and her family leave town for a year, she asks her best friend Ella to take care of her cat, Marmalade. Neither girl nor cat is excited about the arrangement: “Ella cried and Marmalade yowled as Maddy’s family car grew smaller and smaller in the distance.” (In one of many typographical flourishes, Reynolds’s text gets tinier as the car zooms off, autumn leaves swirling in its wake.) As the weather gets frostier, however, Ella and Marmalade’s relationship gradually warms up: one winter morning, Ella “woke up with warm feet” (Marmalade is seen curled at the foot of her patchwork comforter), and by spring and summer, they are enjoying the garden and the beach together. Reynolds’s prose is full of vivid sound effects and vocabulary that evoke the mood of each season, and McKenzie’s wiry and loose ink lines, splashed with bits of bright color, readily capture the characters’ emotional high and lows. Ages 4–6. (July)
Reviewed on: 05/20/2013
Release date: 07/23/2013
Paperback - 32 pages - 978-1-74346-144-0
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