A Sea Of Stories- Sylvia Bishop and Paddy Donnelly

This is such a wonderfully precious book. It takes the trope of Old man telling tales and blends with the idea of doing kind things and helping people to retain the things that are special to them.

A fantastic way to round off the 2019 collection of Colour Fiction Range. I am now looking forward with high hopes to see what 2020 has in store.

Roo loves visiting her Grandpa who loves down on the coast with his cat Bathsheba and a bazaar of trinkets and treasures collected from when he was a small boy.

But when Roo stays with Grandpa for a few days she notices that he is feeling sad that he can no longer get down the rambly-scrambly path to the cove that holds very precious memories.

Each day Roo learns a little more about what a wonderful kind of person her grand father is through the tales each collected item promises that she decides she must give something back.

Ok. I got a little ok totally choked up in the last section of the book, adult co-readers who are big softies like me beware!!!

I adored the format of this story and it lends well when moving on to Middle Grade to prepare for other tale within a tale or ‘nested story’ structures such as The Girl Who Speaks Bear or The Secret Summer.

The illustrations are delightful, airy and with a frothy texture evoking the soft wildness of the sea in their special cove, and the scenes with the garden and the sea are just so evocative you can smell the salt and green leaves.

Children who enjoy/ed watching Bernard Cribbins telling his Sea tales on CBeebies will particularly enjoy reading this lovely book.


“I like the characters, I like Roo she is a bit curious it was amazing that she cleared up the cove. I enjoyed grandpas stories, especially I liked the one about the treasure best because it was funny!’

This book is part of the Colour Fiction Range from Stripes which quite frankly I adore because they have the detail and colour palette of illustrations of a picture book but have the challenge of an almost early chapter book.

Not only that but they have curated a lovely collection of diverse and kind books with a strong focus on empathy. They are a wonderful bridge from picture books to bigger a deeper stories but supporting illustrators to showcase their talents with longer more complex texts in full colour.

For me they are fantastic because Littlefae is inspired and gripped by the colour illustrations, I will certainly be using these again with Tinyfae when she reaches that point in her reading journey and look forward to seeing this Range develop further.

A Sea Of Stories by Sylvia Bishop and Paddy Donnelly is published by Stripes.


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