The History of a Word 02/07/20
Publisher: Walker Books
Mabel lives with her parents at The Mermaid Hotel, by the sea, where she likes to keep an eye on the comings and goings of the guests.
Then, one day, an interesting old lady comes to stay. There is something very suspicious about her and no one seems to know her name. Not only does Mabel dub her "Madame Badobedah" (pronounced a bit like la-di-da), but she decides that this guest is most likely a SUPERVILLAIN. But what will she find out by spying on her?
This beautiful picture book – made extra special and lush with Lauren O-Hara's dreamy, charming illustrations – is all about the unlikely friendship that eventually blossoms between adventurer Mabel and Madame Badobedah. A lot of the story centres around the joy of playtime, with Madame Badobedah a good sport for all sorts of imaginative games involving mermaids and shipwrecks.
But there is a poignant undercurrent, too, as Madame Badobedah's life story gradually reveals itself to Mabel in Sophie Dahl's poetic text. By the end, you'll want to give the lady a giant hug: proof that we should not be quick to judge others and that the biggest adventures may come from real life and listening to the stories of others.