Book Review: The House of Clouds – Lisa Thompson [Excerpt]

Author(s): Lisa Thompson (author), Alice McKinley (illustrator)
Publisher: Barrington Stoke
Publication date: September 2020
About the publisher: Barrington Stoke is a small, independent and award-winning children’s publisher. For over 20 years we’ve been pioneering super-readable, dyslexia-friendly fiction to help every child become a reader. From our specially designed font to the colour of our paper, accessibility is at the heart of everything we do. (Taken from the Barrington Stoke website)


There is wonder all around. You’ve just got to remember to look up …

Tabby’s fed up. Fed up with losing her best friend and fed up that Grandad has come to stay. Grandad’s always telling the same old silly, made-up stories. And now Tabby has to walk his smelly dog Buster every day after school.

But when one of Tabby’s walks takes her to a lonely hilltop house, she spots something strange going on. So strange she can’t help but mention it to Grandad. He tells her yet another fantastical story, and it’s only when tragedy strikes that Tabby wonders… could Grandad’s impossible tale be true?


This book, quite unexpectedly, nearly broke me. I think many of us who have lost our grandparents wish we’d spent more time with them and book really brings those emotions to the fore.

Tabby (not Tabitha, thank you very much) is trying to navigate life. Her best friends are spending time without her (and posting the results on social media) and their house has been turned upside down by the arrival of her elderly grandfather and his rather stinky dog, Buster.

Tabby hates walking Buster, but one day she comes across something rather unusual – the House of Clouds. Her grandfather claims that it was the home of a once famous cloud sculptor – but Tabby thinks her grandfather just likes a tall tale. There begins an adventure to discover the truth and the importance of family, true friendship, and love – even for stinky dogs like Buster.

I love that this book combines complex emotions such as jealously and grief with the magic of clouds. For me, it made me realise that everyone has their own stories to tell and life experiences and serves as a reminder that every older person was young once.

I was lucky to also listen to the audiobook version of The House of Clouds and can highly recommend it alongside the print version.

Beautiful and moving. Get the tissues.

Many thanks to Barrington Stoke for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Read the first chapter!

Order now

Please support indie publishers by buying this book directly through them – they really need your support right now! Alternatively, please contact your local bookshop who will be more than happy to order it for you.

Comment below

What do you think of The House of Clouds? Will you be reading it? Let me know in the comments below.

Wishing you a wonderfully bookish week,


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