Madame Badobedah is Sophie Dahl’s first book for children and it is beautiful.
Mabel lives at the Mermaid Hotel. A fabulous place that overlooks the sea and Mabel likes nothing more than exploring and adventuring the rugged coastline. The hotel has welcomed all manner of guests over the years, each leaving their own stories and memories behind that Mabel now refers to as the hotel’s secrets.
One day, the most unusual guest arrives. The lady stood at the front desk is old, rude and is wearing bright red lipstick. Nothing too unusual about that. What is unusual is all the pets that she has with her and the remarkable number of suitcases. Never mind being on holiday, the new guest looks like she is moving in to the Mermaid Hotel! Mabel has seen enough guests to know that the new arrival is a bit odd. Madame Badobedah (not her real name but does rhyme with ooooh la la) has an assortment of unusual possessions, never goes out and no-one knows her real name. So Mabel sets out to put her expert ‘spying’ skills into action and prove that Madame is a supervillain who is on the run from the police…
Madame Badobedah is a lovely read that explores the power of imagination and the wonders of friendship. The two female protagonists are at very different stages of their lives but this does not matter as the young girl and old lady prove that age is no barrier to friendship as the most unlikely of bonds blossoms. The times they share together are playful and imaginative, from hanging out with mermaids to sailing away on pirate ships. By the end, the reader will want to give Madame Badobedah a big hug as her own story is unveiled and shows that we should never be too quick to judge others.
Dahl’s text is poetic and the soft watercolour illustrations by Lauren O’Hara are wonderful. In the hardback edition of this book, the pages are thick and it just adds something extra to this already special book.
Recommended for 6+