Sommer’s rhyming can edge toward the gimmicky, with some forced pairings that don’t actually rhyme (“checkup/close-up,” “family/actually”). While rhyme is often employed in picture books to help smooth out reading, inviting readers to feel it’s easy to falter and stumble on those awkward pairings, possibly diminishing reader engagement. The choice to have the story focused on the cat’s emotions after a loss, rather than the human narrator’s, is interesting and unique, perhaps operating on the assumption that the feelings of animals will register more with young readers.
Focusing the story on the cat, however, still allows opportunity to look at the entire family’s grieving process (everyone slowly turns blue, too). This emphasizes that loss and healing both are often shared, a topic worth discussing. Ultimately a heartfelt tribute to the furry friends we lose along the way, My Cat Is Blue offers children an opportunity to identify what sadness can look like in pets, adults, and themselves and how we always move forward with happier days in mind.
Takeaway: Readers young and old will be moved by the rhyming prose and evocative digital illustrations as a cat and family grieves.
Great for fans of: Todd Barr’s The Goodbye Book, Judith Viorst and Erik Blegvad’s The Tenth Good Thing About Barney.
Design and typography: A-
Marketing copy: A