Madame Badobedah

By Sophie Dahl

Illustrated by Lauren O'Hara

A timeless story celebrating friendship and imagination, from an exciting new voice in children's literature.

Mabel lives with her parents in The Mermaid Hotel, by the sea. Mabel likes to keep an eye on the comings and goings of all the guests. Then one day a particularly in-ter-est-ing old lady comes to stay. There is something very suspicious about her, with her growly voice and her heavy trunks and her beady-eyed tortoise. And why does no one know her REAL name? There can only be one answer, Mabel decides ... this guest is a SUPERVILLAIN. But even supervillains have a soft side, and as an unlikely friendship grows between the pair, their fantastical exploits take them well beyond the corridors of their seaside home.

Categories: Picture Books

For readers aged: 5+

  • Publication details:
  • Format: Hardback
  • ISBN: 9781406384406
  • Published: 03 Oct 2019
  • Price: £12.99
  • Size: 290 x 210 mm
  • Pages: 56

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Customer reviews


'...this quirky, imaginative story is a delight… Vividly illustrated, this is a witty and gently moving debut.' The Daily Mail

'Dahl’s granddaughter makes her children’s debut with this gentle tale… “I really hate bitter books, and bitter people,” Sophie Dahl has said. There is no bitterness here, and nothing too revolting – but there is plenty of charm.' The Daily Telegraph

'It is a splendidly entertaining story, just right for younger readers who are launching out into a larger text, and Lauren O’Hara has responded to it with huge dash and imagination.' Shirley Hughes

'’s swashbuckling and mysterious whilst still being very easy to follow. I can’t recommend it enough as a gift for a godchild or a niece or nephew, it’s a beautiful, beautiful kids’ book and I hope to read lots more of Madame Badobedah' Dolly Alderton, The High Low podcast

'…visit a seaside B&B in Sophie Dahl’s Madame Badobedah (Walker), illustrated with airy, light-hearted charm by Lauren O’Hara. Mettlesome Mabel encounters a suspicious guest: a flamboyant old lady with piles of fascinating luggage, toffee-apple-red hair and rude, secretive manners. Is she right to guess that Madam Badobedah is a super-villain? This longer-form picture book, tapping astutely into the imaginative life of an adventurous child, is lovely both to read and to listen to.' The Guardian

'The book is a thing of wonder' David Walliams

'*Selected as one of The Sunday Times Children's Books of the Year* "... this book celebrates affection across generations and the acceptance of outsiders.Lauren O’Hara’s pictures have the naivety of seaside art, and Dahl’s prose is considered and surprising"' The Sunday Times

'This book is one of those books you dreamt of reading as a child. That you wished you could write as an adult. One that you’re so glad exists so your own child can read. It’s a proper children’s book.' Laura Dockrill, author of Darcy Burdock and Angry Cookie

'Written and illustrated with heaps of wit, charm and heart, Madame Badobedah manages to feel both fresh and classic at the same time.' Anna James, author of the Pages & Co series

'Pairing Dahl with O’Hara is a masterstroke. Her painterly images are colourful and chic but mysterious, just like Madame Badobedah, whose life story, refreshingly, is never fully revealed.' The Observer, Children’s Picture Books of the Month

'“A tale of fantastical exploits and an unlikely friendship, with stylish, whimsical art.”' The Bookseller, Children’s Previews

'“[…] as charming as you’d hope with stylish, whimsical art from rising star O’Hara.”' The Bookseller Buyers’ Guide

'This is PURE PERFECTION. I’m curbing the urge to want to gift this IMMEDIATELY. When a book comes along as special as this, you immediately want to share its glory with your little people… Sophie Dahl, what a wordsmith, WHAT A GIFT! Just the most descriptive and exquisite storyteller. She has completely blown me away with her first children’s book.' @LuggyLibrary, Instagram

'I can’t describe just how much I love this book... I cried when I finished it and I’m sure I will the next time I read it. A gorgeously written tale of friendship from @mssophiedahl and beautifully illustrated by @oharasisters This is going on my favourites list!' @The_Little_Bookcase, Instagram

'Refreshing book - Imaginative, descriptive, and word friendly, a delight for everyone young and old. Madame Badobedah is a book you can listen to, read on your own when you have learnt to read and even Grandparents to enjoy reading with their Grandkids. The art work is perfect for this book!', Instagram

'A perfect picture book that we really recommend in hardback as you will read and reread and is sure to be passed down the generations, yes that is how good it is!' @Little_English_Bookworm, Instagram

'You can tell #sophiedahl is a mother... and also a brilliant story teller. The illustrations by #laurenohara are elegant and beautiful. This story allows you to slip into the beautiful fantasy world which is set in the stunning seaside B and B called The Mermaid Hotel.' @Our.Little.Book.Collections, Instagram

'Madame Badobedah is a beautifully illustrated book and a warm and engaging story celebrating friendship and imagination.' Booknook_shop, Instagram

'Sophie Dahl and Lauren O’Hara have produced the adorable Madame Badobedah… The illustrations by @oharasisters are breathtaking and frame worthy. This is a longer format picture book so wonderful to gather together under an umbrella in the garden in the Southern Hemisphere or by the fire in the Northern Hemisphere. The book is filled with stories of The Mermaid Hotel and the adventures that Mabel a resident has with all the comings and goings especially those of Madame Badobedah.' @Thelittlebookemporium, Instagram

'I’ve waited a long time for this release and it does not disappoint. Couldn’t be more me. Congratulations @mssophiedahl @oharasisters you’ve crafted a thing of beauty.' @EllasEnchantedWood, Instagram

'With wonderful storytelling and beautiful pictures bringing the story alive this will be a great gift and ideal bedtime.' @ButtonAndBearBookshop, Instagram

'Her drawings are completely beautiful… It’s so magical and the words and the drawings really do weave together in this symbiosis which completely transported me when I read it to be being read to as a kid [...] I had completely forgotten what it’s like when you find a story that’s so vivid and imaginative and the pictures and the words align so perfectly that you literally every night feel that you are stepping into a page with your mum.' Dolly Alderton, The High Low Podcast

'My favourite contemporary kids' author.' Editor's Letter, Evening Standard Magazine

'Illustrated with airy, light-hearted charm by Lauren O’Hara…This longer-form picture book taps astutely into the imaginative life of an adventurous child' The Guardian Review

'Dahl’s engaging style – teamed with Lauren O’Hara’s gorgeous illustrations – make it a book to remember.' Press Association (SYNDICATED)

'This is a charming story about unexpected friendships and the power of imagination.'

'A beautiful story of adventure, spying and friendship. There are hints of magic, mystery and a lot of fun in this wonderful story. Incredible illustrations enhance the experience of reading this book. Thoroughly enjoyable.' bmd83, Toppsta

'This was a beautifully illustrated book that is the size of a picture book but had quite a bit of writing in. My 5 yr old loved the pictures of mermaids and pirates. We loved the imagination of the little girl and the stories she made up with Madame Badobedah. A lovely story of an unusual friendship and the power of imagination.' Wormmcd42, Toppsta

'Sophie sets herself apart with warm hearted and almost poetic prose.' Yorkshire Post

'Our favourite at the moment is Madame Badobedah, Sophie Dahl has used wonderfully imaginative language paired with beautiful illustrations by Lauren O’Hara.' Claire Vallis, Design Insider

'This book celebrates affection across generations and the acceptance of outsiders. Lauren O’Hara’s pictures have the naivety of seaside art, and Dahl’s prose is considered and surprising.' The Sunday Times

'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.' Booktrust

'Perfect for those who like a whimsical adventure, with beautiful pictures by Lauren O’Hara.' Konnie Huq for The Guardian

'Any imaginative child will warm to this funny, touching story of lonely only, child Mabel. Beautifully illustrated, this is a joyous debut from Roald Dahl’s granddaughter.' The Daily Mail, Children’s Books of the Year

'Innocence meets experience in this s tory that’s as beautifully illustrated as it is told.' i

'Lauren O’Hara’s artwork is a delight.' Daily Express

'Featured in a full page interview with Lauren O’Hara.' Bookmark, Sevenoaks Bookshop Magazine

'Mabel is somewhat reminiscent of Eloise, but the story is sweeter, as is the budding friendship between Mabel and Madame Badobedah.' World Magazine

'Featured in Woman & Home.' Woman & Home

'The pictures in the book were very pretty and I liked the ones of the mermaids.' Army&You

'The book was good because it kept me guessing what was going to happen next. My favourite character was the tortoise because it was funny when he ran in the corridor like a dizzy chicken. The illustrations were really good. I loved the picture of the Mermaid Hotel. I want to be Mabel because then I can visit mermaids.' Army&You

'Featured in Sophie’s piece ‘My Most Memorable Meal’.' Sainsbury's Magazine

'Featured on Muddy Stiletto’s in ‘10 best books for primary school kids’.' Muddy Stilettos

'Dahl's writing is word-perfect: a unique, original story with the feel of an immediate classic. Some breath-taking spreads bring Mabel's imagination to life in subtle watercolours with bright accents and an abundance of charming detail.' Independent IE

'Featured in an interview with Sophie Dahl on Planet Radio.' Planet Radio

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