Ella is devastated when her best friend Maddy breaks the news to her that she and her family are going away for a year. As a parting ‘gift’, Maddy gives Ella the responsibility of looking after her pet cat, Marmalade.
Things are rubbish for Ella as Maddy disappears into the distance with her family. There is no-one to play in the leaves with, no-one to share apples with, no-one to splash in the puddles with. But then, one winter’s morning Ella wakes up to find Marmalade snuggled cosily on her feet. And whilst she has temporarily lost Maddy, maybe a new friendship with Marmalade awaits…
As Ella and Marmalade’s friendship grows, readers are taken through the four seasons and are subtlety taught about the changing weather through the activities that Ella and Marmalade enjoy and the change in scenery (particularly the trees).
It is a great read for helping children understand that sometimes things are not quite as bad as they first seem and that sometimes good things come from what feels like a bad situation. Simple black and white illustrations are brought alive with the clever use of minimal colours which perfectly reflect the change in the emotions of the characters.
Recommended for 4+.