A review of Mister Cleghorn's Seal by Judith KerrThe Tiger Who Came to Tea is a firm favourite in our house so we were thrilled when we were asked if we would like to review the new book by Judith Kerr. Mister Cleghorn's Seal is Judith Kerr's first book in 37 years- which means she hasn't written any new books since before my Mum was born! Yet despite long break it was still just as good as I expected.
In our house we have quite a long bedtime process- after baths and getting ready for bed we play with Sam for a bit and then while Dad is giving him a bottle and putting him to bed Mum reads to me and Lottie. We start with a bit of something non-fiction or a fact book, then move on to a chapter of a fiction book or a short story either that Lottie chooses or that we can both enjoy and then finally Daddy puts Lottie to bed and Mum and I settle down for a chapter of something for me (normally Harry Potter!)
I was initially surprised to learn it was recommended for age 7+ but we decided to see how we got on and Mr Cleghorn's Seal was the perfect option for the three of us to enjoy together. It was a gentle book with some funny bits (imagine trying to do a long journey with a baby seal) but I think the reason it was recommended for age 7 plus is because it lightly touches on the death of animals and how humans sometimes treat them which could be upsetting for children that don't know about this. It really is just a mention though and my sister, Lottie (just turned 4) understood it, asked a couple of questions and then settled back into the story so I don't think it is too frightening.
We all really enjoyed the book which Mum read to in short bursts over three bedtimes and by the end we were very excited to hear how things turned out- although I worked out the ending I was still happy it ended the way it did as for a little while it looked like it could go another way.
I found the note from the author really interesting- Judith Kerr talks about how the story was inspired by her Father's story and this definitely adds something to the story.
I really enjoyed this book and think it will be one we go back to again and again. I would personally recommend it for children age 5-8 although many children younger will also enjoy it but perhaps their parents should read it first to make sure they don't feel parts of it would upset them before they get to the nice bits.
If you would like to read this lovely book you can order your copy here from Amazon