A timeless story for readers aged 5+ celebrating friendship, imagination and adventure, with exquisite illustrations, from a bestselling author.
Mabel lives with her parents in The Mermaid Hotel, by the sea. Mabel likes to keep an eye on the comings and goings of all the guests, particularly their most interesting guest and Mabel's best friend, Madame Badobedah. Madame Badobedah has pirouetted through pyramids, skated across rivers, swum with mermaids and even helped a Triceratops with a toothache.
In this new adventure, the duo set off on a mission to the Natural History Museum. And, just maybe, they will meet a dinosaur along the way…


"Illustrated with airy, light-hearted charm by Lauren O’Hara [...] This longer-form picture book taps astutely into the imaginative life of an adventurous child, is lovely both the read and listen to." The Guardian

"Swashbuckling and mysterious [...] I can't recommend it enough as a gift [...] it's a beautiful kids' book" Dolly Alderton

"Any imaginative child will warm to this funny, touching story of lonely only child Mabel. Beautifully illustrated, this is a joyous debut." The Daily Mail

"My favourite contemporary kids’ author" Evening Standard Magazine

“a playful and beguiling voice” The Observer

"Dahl’s engaging style – teamed with Lauren O’Hara’s gorgeous illustrations – make it a book to remember." Press Association

"Innocence meets experience in this story that’s as beautifully illustrated as it is told." i newspaper

"plenty of charm" The Daily Telegraph

"one of 2019’s most exciting and imaginative picture books [...] Sophie Dahl’s debut for children is wonderfully eccentric and imaginative, and also tells a powerful tale of friendship [...]The pictures are also a pure delight." The Sun


Sophie Dahl is the bestselling author of four books for adults, and three for children, and the writer of two BBC2 prime-time shows. Sophie’s first book for children, Madame Badobedah, was published by Walker Books in 2019. Her second, The Worst Sleepover in the World was published in November 2021. Madame Badobedah was nominated for a Greenaway Medal, selected as one of both The Guardian’s and The Sunday Time’s Children’s Books of the Year in 2019, and in the US, it was one of Amazon.com’s Best Children’s books of 2020, and was awarded both a Junior Library Guild of America and a Parent’s Choice Gold Award. The sequel to Madame Badobedah, Madame Badobedah and The Old Bones was published in October 2023.
Dahl has written non-fiction essays for US Vogue, Vogue, The New York Times, The Guardian and The Sunday Times. She has judged the Women’s Prize for Fiction and Vogue’s Young Talent Contest. She is also a contributing editor and monthly columnist at House and Garden magazine.
For more information go to www.sophiedahl.com or on instagram @mssophiedahl.

Lauren O’Hara is an illustrator from the north of England. As a child she loved reading fairy tales, painting insects and listening to her grandmother’s stories. She studied art and illustration at Kingston University and then designed window displays and props for films. Lauren’s career as an illustrator began when she and her sister Natalia worked together on a picture book, Hortense and the Shadow. This was published in 2017 and followed in 2018 by The Bandit Queen.


A real sparkler.

Jessica Love

What a delight to join Mabel and her unlikely companion on another of their exciting escapades – this time featuring friendly dinosaurs and my favourite museum. A charming and beautifully illustrated story, which is sure to leave young fossil-hunters everywhere in desperate want of their own Madame Badobedah to adventure with.

Jess French

An absolutely gorgeous read. Poetic words and stunning illustrations. Madame Badobedah is becoming a legendary character in the world of children’s books.

Laura Dockrill

Gosh! How I wish I could be a child again and have this story read to me. I would long to be Mabel with a friend like Madame Badobedah. It’s exactly the kind of secret imaginary world that I love, with just the right amount of defiance and wit to balance the pearls of wisdom sprinkled within. The scenery is glorious, humorous and beautiful at the same time, with colours that soothe and don’t overwhelm, despite their intensity. Now I just wish I could go and stay in the Mermaid Hotel!

Emma Chichester Clark

Sophie Dahl’s playful storytelling captures the essence of adventure, whimsy, and imagination. It invites children to dream and adults to reminisce about their own youthful curiosity. Readers, particularly young girls, are encouraged to be bold, curious, and authentic. The story reminds us that, despite creaking knees, age is no barrier to adventure, and the bond between Mabel and Madame Badobedah illustrates the beauty of intergenerational friendship. Lauren O’Hara’s artful illustrations complement the story wonderfully, bringing the characters and their adventures to life. The soft, warm palette adds depth to the narrative and welcomes the reader into the story. This is a very special book which would make a fabulous gift for a child aged 6+.

Reading Time

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