Friendship through the books of Tom Percival

I have just had another sort through of books. I am not naturally organised but I do love a list. And making piles. I don’t tend to get much done beyond that, but my lists always look good and the piles of books make me feel organised. Today, however, I have had a crazy coincidence. Sitting at the toppest most top of my review pile is this:

And at the top of my ‘library books I love’ pile is this:

And nearish the top of my ‘books I’ve bought that I must tell everyone about’ pile is this:

So there you go! I’m being book-stalked by Tom Percival. Luckily, I can take a hint and will take this opportunity to rave about them a bit.

I’ll start with A Home for Mr Tipps as it was published first. Mr Tipps is a scared and lonely stray cat who strikes up a friendship with a small boy who leaves milk out for him. But one day the boy doesn’t come to visit and Mr Tipps is bereft, lost, and in mild peril! And I love a bit of mild peril! Yes, the story is lovely and well-written. It is a joy to read aloud and has a heart warming ending. But for me, the real joy is the artwork. The illustrations are delicious! The colours and the contrasts are beautifully used to enhance the story and really explore the character’s emotions. It looks fresh and stylish. The word that is rolling around on my tongue is luminous. I think this book is luminous.


Jack’s Amazing Shadow is about a different kind of friendship. This time between a young boy, with super cool hair, and his pesky shadow. Jack and his shadow are best friends but sometimes his shadow can get a bit carried away. Eventually, Jack has had enough and decides that his shadow has to go. His attempts at escaping his shadow are genius and genuinely very funny. The illustrations showing Jack playing on his own once he finally succeeds in losing his shadow are wonderful, you can hear the ‘bok’ of the solitary swing-ball. This is a book that will appeal to children and adults alike as we all giggle together at Jack’s shadow’s exploits. I love the way this book works across age groups with extra elements for older children to notice and understand. Great concept, well executed. It’s a good’un!


Herman’s Letter is the most recently published and my favourite of the three. It is beautiful in every way. It centres around two friends- Herman and Henry. They are the best of friends (notice a theme?) and when Henry has to move away they are determined to write to each other and stay friends forever. Alas, life is never quite that simple and Herman’s emotions get in the way of his letter writing. Time goes on and their friendship is tried and tested. But true friendship always wins in the end, and Herman embarks on a wintry adventure to reunite with Henry. Tom Percival’s trademark humour is evident throughout and his illustrations get better and better. In Herman he has melded the best of his illustration techniques and we have strong character and that luminous quality again. The lift-the-flap letters are a wonderful addition to a beautifully created book. I think this will end up being the first of many copies of this book that I buy. It’s going to make a delicious Christmas present!


A Home for Mr Tipps – borrowed from my lovely local library.
Jack’s Amazing Shadow – kindly sent for review by Pavilion Children’s books.
Herman’s Letter – bought from my lovely local bookshop, Bags of Books.


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