Review: Mister Cleghorn’s Seal
When Mister Cleghorn goes to visit his brother’s family, he and his nephew go every day to watch a seal pup with its mother. After a few days, they notice the mother is missing and the pup looks thin and hungry. They decide to watch for a little while and when they realize the mother must be dead Mister Cleghorn’s brother and nephew think the best thing to do is to put the pup “out of its misery.”
Mister Cleghorn can’t abide by that and impulsively offers to take the pup, which he names Charlie, and find it a home in a zoo. Against the odds, he gets the pup home but then can’t find a zoo equipped to take it in. He and his neighbor, Miss Craig, come up with a solution that works out for everyone.
MISTER CLEGHORN’S SEAL by Judith Kerr is a sweet story based on an experience the author’s own father had. Mister Cleghorn is a kind man who wants to do right by a baby seal who’s lost its mother. Without thinking, he says he’ll take the pup home and give it a zoo. Things don’t work out exactly the way he planned but they do work out well in the end.
I think young readers will delight in Mister Cleghorn and his seal and want to own one of their own after they read this darling story. More sensitive children might be bothered by the loss of Charlie’s mother and some of the Britishisms might be new to young readers. The sweet illustrations are a wonderful addition to the story and the author includes an Afterword about her own father’s experience with a seal. (It didn’t have as nice an ending as the book.) MISTER CLEGHORN’S SEAL is Judith Kerr’s first children’s book in 37 years and it was well worth the wait.
I will link this up to Booking Mama’s Saturday feature, Kid Konnection. If you’d like to participate in Kid Konnection and share a post about anything related to children’s books (picture, middle grade, or young adult) from the past week, leave a comment as well as a link on her site.