Kid’s Book Review: The Perfect Shelter

Kid’s Book Review: The Perfect Shelter

About the Book and Author

This is an unusual and rather special picture book for young children. It is a beautiful story that explores the mixed emotions we feel when someone we love is poorly. Two sisters are happily building a den together outdoors until one of the sisters ends up in hospital for a while. There follows an initial period of confusion, then uncertainly and later adjustment when the sister finally returns home and the sisters resolve to making an indoor shelter instead.

The book is tactile and the gentle narrative is accompanied with soft illustrations in pastel tones by Åsa Gilland . It is published by Little Tiger Press.

As you can read (keep scrolling down!) from the mother of young reviewer this book has caused a range of responses from three year old Ila who agree that it is a special book.

book cover image
author photo

Helen Clare Walsh  does her best writing by the sea, which is lucky because she lives with her family in South West England, a stone’s throw away from crashing waves and salty sea air. When Clare isn’t writing stories for children, she is inspiring children to write their own. You can find our more about the other books she has written on her website.

Clare is an award-winning picture book writer. ‘The Tide’ (illustrated by Ashling Lindsay, Little Tiger 2019) won The North Somerset Teacher’s Book Award 2019, SCBWI-BI Crystal Kite Award 2020 and an Honour Award for Illustration at The Children’s Book Awards, Ireland. ‘The Perfect Shelter’ (illustrated by Asa Gilland,  Little Tiger 2020) has been  shortlisted for the InstaBookGrammies 2020 and has been reviewed by The Guardian, identified as a book to support children through the Coronavirus pandemic.

Åsa Gillandis a Swedish illustrator who loves all things retro, quirky imagery and folk art themes. I studied interior design at Accademia Italiana Moda and have 20 years of experience in surface design and illustration. I produce art for stationary, textiles, home decor and the gift market.


Book Review

I can see this book will be one we return to for many years to come, helping Ila to make sense of the world in such a gentle and loving way

Thank you so much for the latest book ‘The Perfect Shelter’.  It was such a beautiful book to review, we are so grateful…

As soon as Ila received this book it was all about the texture of the book it’s self, how it felt to the touch “feel it, it’s not paper, what is it?”

This led to her exploring the images, touching each illustration to see how it felt as she tried to work out what was going on from each picture before we started reading, it instantly drew her in.

Then as we read, she seemed to explode with questions “Is she hiding? Why? Where’s her sister? Who is with her? Is that the doctor mummy? Where’s the sister? Is she still at the doctors? Why?” And each time we’ve read it it has been so interesting to see how Ila’s interest, initially focused on the way the book felt to the touch, has developed to the way it has made her feel emotionally.

When I asked her what she thought of the book she replied “ I like it, it is a bit sad though, but it would be fun to build a shelter, can we do that?”

Thank you for this book, I can see it will be one we return to for many years to come, helping her to make sense of the world in such a gentle and loving way.

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If you would would like to buy a copy of the book we invite you to order it from your local independent book shop.

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Alternatively, we suggest that you visit your local library and request to borrow a copy from a friendly librarian.

Whichever you choose, we hope you enjoy being part of your unique reading community – happy reading everyone!

Reviewer Profile

Ila young reviewer
  • Name: Ila
  • Age: 3 years
  • Likes: monsters, dragons and tortoises
  • Dislikes: prawns and pirates stealing treasure!
  • Favourite book: There's a Monster in Your Book by Tom Fletcher
  • Favourite Film: Ballerina
  • Favourite Song: Rascal Flatts - Life is a Highway (from Cars)