Madame Badobeldah and the old bones by Sophie Dahl. Illus. by Lauren O'Hara

cover image

This book completely surprised me! I haven't read much of Sophie Dahl's previous work and I guess her last name held certain standards that I felt would be hard to keep up with. Madame Bodobedah and the old bones is nothing like her grandfather's work, but it is wonderful in its own right. 

The story is one of an unlikely friendship between Mabel, a child, and an older woman who lives in her family's hotel. The two of them spend a lot of time together going on adventures at the seaside, tell stories and on Sunday nights they explore a huge 570 drawer cabinet full of exciting things in Madame Badobedah's room. Through Sophie's storytelling, I could feel that they had a real friendship and learnt many things from one another. 

The book is written in a short chapter style, and is accompanied by the most beautiful painted illustrations by Lauren O'Hara. The water colour images really bring the text to life and are wonderful to look at on their own, even without the text. They are however beautiful and I feel complement the book perfectly. 

This book would be great for a child who is becoming independent but still enjoys pictures to help tell the story, or as a night time read by a caregiver in bed, as you could read and explore a chapter per night. Lots of talking points with the book such as female world explorers, dinosaurs and the Natural History Museum to name a few. 

Brilliant read, and would make an excellent gift.

Themes: Adventure, Dinosaurs, Friendship.

Lauren Fountain