Review & Author Blog: The Perfect Shelter / Clare Helen Welsh

BooksforTopics Reading for Pleasure Recommendations

This month marks the publication of The Perfect Shelter by Clare Helen Welsh and Åsa Gilland, and today is our stop on the blog tour.

Read on for a review of The Perfect Shelter and then head over to author Clare's guest booklist featuring her 5 recommended children's books about siblings.

Book Title: The Perfect Shelter (available here)

Author: Clare Helen Welsh

Illustrator: Åsa Gilland

Publisher: Little Tiger

Publication Date: June 2020

Most Suitable For: KS1


The story begins perfectly. A loving family out for a day in the woods. Two close siblings decide to build a shelter from sticks they collect. Then the older sister is a bit tired. The wind blows and the den collapses. They rebuild their perfect shelter. As the weather becomes more inclement, the sister grows sicker and the shelter is not important any longer. As the days wear on, the older sister is in hospital, the younger child just wants their sister to be well again. On a visit to the hospital, as the sister grows stronger, will they find the perfect way to discover their smiles again?

This was a moving story dealing with the serious illness of a sibling. While the little girl felt a whole array of feelings that could be associated with this experience, the shelter became a symbol that needed repairing for everything to be OK while the weather tried to tear it down.

The combination of the weather, the shelter and the little girl’s feelings merge brilliantly in this book, all reflecting the turbulent time that the characters were experiencing.

The bright, colourful pictures perfectly illustrated the happy times of den building and the love and hope felt between the characters, while the images of the darker weather showed the fear and sadness of the family situation. I thought it was great that the characters were not named; they could reflect any child going through this experience..

In class, I would use this book to support children’s empathy with those in a similar situation. It might be good to use with a small group if a child is struggling with the illness of a sibling to help them to understand their feelings. It could also be used as part of an art project, thinking about expressing emotion in pictures with the contrast between the bright perfect day and the dark turbulent weather.

Guest Post

Click here to read author Clare Helen Welsh's guest booklist featuring 5 recommended children's books about siblings.


You can order The Perfect Shelter online or from your local bookshop or library. Signed copies are also available from Harbour Book Shop.

Many thanks to the publishers at Little Tiger for sending us a review copy and to Clare for providing the guest post. Check out the other stops on the blog tour, too.


Where next? > Visit our Reading for Pleasure Hub

> Browse our Topic Booklists

> View our printable year group booklists.

> See our Books of the Month.


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