Childrens Book Review: Mr Cleghorns Seal by Judith Kerr

This is a new story by Judith Kerr, partly based on a true story which happened to her father and is about a man rescuing a seal pup, falling in love and ultimately finding a new purpose in life.

Our family very much enjoys the work of Judith Kerr and our nursery bookshelves have always been filled with her work – The Tiger who Came to Tea and the Mog the Cat series being particular favourites.  The story is aimed at children 7 years plus but could easily be read to children younger than that. I think that any child older than 12 years or so might find it too old fashioned and twee but I personally found the book charming and would read it to my youngest child quite happily. My eight year old enjoyed the seals antics and the zoo parts and definitely liked that there was a happy ending as he looked a bit worried after the seals mother never returned! Phew! Its a story that feels like its from another time in the very best way, with communication via letter, travels by train and an old fashioned courtship that reminded me a little of Esio Trot by Roald Dahl. Without giving the story away its a lovely adventure with a happy ending that all children (and adults) will smile at. Plus a story featuring a cute seal pup can never be a bad thing! Its 88 pages are peppered with lots of lovely pencil drawings by Kerr so is a relatively quick story to enjoy too. I also love the fact that at the back there’s details of the real story which although did not have the happy ending is still a fascinating read. My 8 year old was very interested in this particularly as it based based on how he puts it, ‘a real life story like a reality show but a book!

If you are looking for a new bedtime story that is gentle, sweet and wistful with a slight vintage vibe to it then this would be a great addition to your childrens bookshelves. It’s presented beautifully too with a dust jacket with gold embossed type so would also make a nice gift.

Mr Cleghorns Seal by Judith Kerr* is priced at £12.99 published by HarperCollins and available at all good bookshops

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