The Dream House by Laura Dockrill

Thank you to Blue of Kaleidoscopic Tours and to Piccadilly Press for the opportunity to read and review this book for the Bookstagram tour (I will be sharing this review on Instagram – @karenkisreading )


A sensitive illustrated novella about a young boy losing a parent; a poignant topic for current times.

Everyone needs somewhere to dream.

Rex has gone to stay with his godfather, Sparky. Rex doesn’t say much but that’s OK because Sparky is always on hand with a cup of tea to enjoy on the sofa, set up outside like an outdoor living room. Rex has his sketchbook, and he draws how he feels even if he doesn’t talk about it. And in Sparky’s garden, hidden under the canopy of the willow tree, is the Dream House: a lovingly created space just for Rex, to dream, to play, to think, to be. A place he’s loved all his childhood. But to go inside now Rex must summon his strength for revisiting the ghosts of his past . . .

An evocative sketchbook novella revealing a boy’s inner world, accessing his feelings through drawing and reconnecting with the people who love him, told through Laura Dockrill’s vivid storytelling. Fully illustrated throughout by Gwen Millward.

My thoughts:

I’ve worked with children for the past 18 years (from Early Years to Further Education), and sadly during that time, a number of them have had to say goodbye to a parent. Each children is unique and each child will therefore deal with their grief differently.

I found this book to be very moving. We aren’t told straight away what has happened and why Rex is staying with his godfather, but slowly we start to learn more about how Rex is dealing (or not dealing) with the grief of losing his dad.

Rex has to work through many emotions including sadness, guilt and grief. The story shows that this isn’t easy or quick.

This is a beautifully illustrated and written book that I’m happy to recommend (but please have a box of tissues handy). This would be an excellent addition to school libraries and school pastoral teams for upper Key Stage 2 and above.

Some of the pages from the book

By Karen K is reading

An avid reader from the age of 4. Love escaping into a good novel after a busy day working with students. Mum of teenagers. Adopter of dogs.

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