Blue Ethel – Jennifer Black Reinhardt


    Blue Ethel – Jennifer Black Reinhardt, Margaret Ferguson Books/Farrar Straus Giroux, (9780374303822), 2017

Format: Hardcover

Rating: 1- 5 (5 is excellent or a Starred review)  5

Genre:  Picture Book

What did you like about the book? Ethel is a cat who does not like surprises. “Ethel was old.  She was fat.  She was black. She was white.  She was very set in her ways.”  Each day Ethel spends the day exactly the same. She surveys her neighborhood, checks the weather, chases villains (ants!), and rolls on the sidewalk before her nap.  The watercolor and ink illustrations in soft pastel colors depict the black and white cat going about her business as a small white kitten observes. When Ethel rolls on the sidewalk one day she gets covered in blue sidewalk chalk unbeknownst to herself. She is upset when the other cats stare at her and comment: “‘Azure!’ ‘Cerulean!’ Cobalt!’ ‘How odd!’ ‘How interesting!’ ‘Ethel is blue!’”  Not knowing the reason for the comments makes Ethel sad and she retreats to her house.  The next morning Ethel is still sad, but the blue has worn off in stripes on her white fur.  She looks out the window and sees that the white kitten,Fluffy, is now pink!  The two now spend their days together doing all of the usual things, but sometimes they roll in the sidewalk to become colorful depending on their mood.  This is a sweet, beautifully illustrated story about friendship and self-esteem.

Anything you didn’t like about it?  No

To whom would you recommend this book?  This is a lovely story to illustrate the themes of friendship and self-confidence.  Readers who love cats will also love Ethel.

Who should buy this book?  Public libraries and elementary school libraries

Where would you shelve it?  Picture Books

Should we (librarians/readers) put this at the top of our “to read” piles?    No

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City:  Catherine Coyne, Mansfield Public Library, Mansfield, MA

Date of review:       8/13/17             

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