Malorie Blackman mixes comedy with a moral message in this sparky tale of Ellie whose rude, disagreeable behaviour at Grandma’s house leads witchy Grandma to label her a brat and cast a spell on her. Ellie discovers that she has switched bodies with Jolly the cat and has only one day to find Grandma’s lost ring otherwise she will remain a cat forever. Ellie soon realises that a girl trapped in a cat’s body needs some help and that she must learn some manners and make some friends fast. With the help of a brave mouse and a resourceful spider, Ellie succeeds in finding the ring, defeating the machinations of Jolly the cat and convincing her Grandma that she has learned her lesson.
Ellie discovers the importance of kindness and friendship and the satisfying ending resolves the family problems that lead to her challenging behaviour. The story is fast-paced and funny with a touch of magic and a cast of appealing characters. This short tale was first published in a different format as “Elaine, You’re a Brat” but this new incarnation under publisher Barrington Stoke’s “super readable” label and with their trademark dyslexia-friendly layout and typeface and Matt Robertson’s brilliantly lively and humorous illustrations is fully justified and should prove to be an enjoyable read for children of 8+ who prefer short chapter books.