MADAME BADOBEDAH, by Sophie Dahl, illustrated by Lauren O’Hara, Walker Books/Candlewick Press

Beautifully Illustrated, Fantastically Written

Who is Madame Badobedah? Mabel sets out to prove that an eccentric new hotel guest is really a supervillain in this witty storybook about an intergenerational friendship.

There’s a strange new guest at the Mermaid Hotel — a very old lady with a growly voice, bags stuffed with jewelry and coins and curiosities, and a beady-eyed pet tortoise. Mabel, whose parents run the hotel, is suspicious. Who is this “Madame Badobedah” (it rhymes with “Oo la la”) who has come to stay indefinitely and never has any visitors? To find out, Mabel puts on her spy costume and observes the new guest. Conclusion? She must be a secret supervillain hiding out from the law. The grown-ups think Madame Badobedah is a bit rude — and sad — but when she invites “dahlink” Mabel for a cup of forbidden tea and a game of pirates, the two begin a series of imaginary adventures together, and Mabel realizes that first impressions can sometimes be very wrong. 

October 2019

256 Pages


I received this book in exchange for my honest review.

Every now and then you come across a book that you feel was meant to be something else, something more. This is one said book. As I was reading, I wanted the book to go on and on, so that I could learn more about who Madame Badobedah was. Sure the author does give you lots of hints and even her name, yet, there was this feeling that this book, could actually be part of a series, part of something more than a picture book or early reader. There’s great potential for it and I even think many young readers would cherish the characters that live in the Mermaid Hotel.

This will become a keepsake for me. I found the entire package endearing and enjoyable. The writing was superb and the author’s story-telling unique and wonderful.

I gave this book:

Five star rating – shiny golden stars

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