Books & Literature

Book Review: Who Lives Here? by Julia Donaldson, illustrated by Rebecca Cobb

CHILDREN’S BOOK: A charming lift-the-flap story from the bestselling, record-breaking partnership of Julia Donaldson and Rebecca Cobb.

Surprises await as a little boy tries to work out which house belongs to his friend.
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Feature image credit: Pan Macmillan Australia

There is absolutely no need to introduce well-known English children’s author Julia Donaldson to most readers, whether they’re young or old. We know her from perennial favourites such as The Gruffalo, Room on a Broom, The Snail and the Whale, The Highway Rat, and many, many others.

Who Lives Here? is the story of a little boy who is invited to come and play at his friend Dan’s house. All he knows is it is on South Street, but which house is it?  With his father watching, the boy peeks in the windows of each house to see who lives there, with surprising results!

Unfortunately, in this day and age it is questionable whether encouraging children to peer in the windows of strangers is the best strategy. Perhaps the child should be knocking on the door instead.

The interesting neighbours in each house are also reflected at the end when we discover dressing up clothes waiting in Dan’s house when the boy eventually arrives.

Brightly coloured illustrations accompany the rhyming text. Each house is very individual. The first one is surrounded by lollipops, there is a horse in the front yard of the second, and the third house is actually a ship. There are also flaps to lift up along the way, which children always enjoy. Children who love dressing up will find this book particularly entertaining, as the quirky neighbours appear in dressing-up clothes.

All the neighbours are a surprise and the reader is encouraged to predict who it might be, with clues from the text and pictures to help. Some children may even notice the neighbours on the front cover, which will aid little ones with their predictions.

Who Lives Here? is a lovely book for the young child and time will tell whether it manages to become a classic like some of Donaldson’s other books. Unfortunately, if you do a quick online search you will discover the name of the book is far from original, so it could have been set apart with a more individual title. 

Who Lives Here? is possibly another book to add to your Julia Donaldson collection!

Reviewed by Sue Mauger

The views expressed in this review belong to the author and not Glam Adelaide, its affiliates, or employees.

Distributed by: Pan Macmillan Australia
Released: July 2023
RRP: $26.99

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