Reviews /

Book Hospital

Authored by Leigh Hodgkinson
Illustrated by Leigh Hodgkinson
Published by Simon & Schuster Children's

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‘When your books need care and repair, they go to… Book Hospital.’

Book Hospital by Rhodesia-born Leigh Hodgkinson is the first-person tale of a book’s journey from new to well-loved.  With a humorous, playful and engaging style, this book tells of accidental (and sometimes intentional!) incidents of book damage – from scribbling, to reading with sticky fingers to chewing the corners, to ripped out pages – and of the different ways in which we can care for and repair books.

Lovers of the children’s television programmes Charlie and Lola and the CBeebies series Olobob Top will recognise Hodgkinson’s unique animation style. Each page draws the reader in visually, providing the perfect opportunity to open up discussions about the links (and the gaps) between the words and pictures and how these bring deeper meaning to the tale.

One way to open up discussions about this book is to invite readers to make connections with books around shared themes offered by the author – ‘stories about bad witches,’ ‘stories with hairy scary monsters’ and ‘stories about teeny weeny adventures.’  Which books would your learners connect with around these themes? Create a mind map or book web to map out wider connections.

Another way into reading is to talk about the different ways that we can care for books both at home and school.  What do the doctors and nurses at the ‘book hospital’ do to repair the books when they come in for care? What can we do to make sure that we care for our own books?  ‘Love your books.  Be kind to your books. Read your books.’  These are the final words of wisdom from our author and provide a fantastic springboard for coming up with a shared, class or home charter for book care.

Book Hospital is the perfect choice to share at the start of the school year as children are introduced to their new classroom environment or as a reminder of our duty of care as readers to ensure we are looking after our precious tomes.