Mabel’s Topsy-Turvy Homes highlights the situation that many children find themselves in after a parental separation. Constantly moving between two different houses, having two different bedrooms and dealing with different schedules and routines in each house is an experience that many children will identify with.
The Story: Mabel has two houses – one with her Dad and one with her Mum. It can be very confusing at times as the layouts are very different and so are the house rules. She really wants to scream but doesn’t want to upset Izzy the iguana, the class pet that she’s looking after for the weekend. But as Mabel reads Izzy’s diary with all of the adventures that she has had with different classmates, she starts to realise that there may also be advantages to having two very different homes…
The differences in Mabel’s houses frustrate her, in one house she helps to cook, in the other she eats takeaways. In one house she has bubble baths, she showers in the other. In one house jumping on the bed isn’t allowed but it’s fun to do in the other! The story highlights Mabel’s parents’ very different lifestyles but when Mabel reads Izzy’s diary and realises how much fun she has had in the different houses that she has visited she starts to see the positive sides to her situation.
Mabel has no siblings to share her feelings with. She experiences a range of emotions as she comes to terms with what appears to be a new situation for the family. Mabel is very much at the centre of the story and with the help of her adorable sidekick, Izzy, she is able to work through her emotions and start to feel more settled and optimistic – she has two bedrooms to decorate, her diverse background means that she celebrates several different holidays and she can also have double the fun!
The illustrations are vibrant and colourful and many of the double spreads compare Mabel’s experiences in her two homes. Jess Rose captures Mabel’s expressions perfectly and we love Izzy the iguana!
Mabel’s Topsy-Turvy Homes is a heartwarming, hopeful story that can help to stimulate family conversations about dealing with parents living in separate houses. The story can provide support and reassurance to children who may be in the same situation as Mabel and would also be a wonderful classroom resource to include in a topic on families.
Age Range: 3+
Thank you to Suzy Senior for sending a review copy of Mabel’s Topsy-Turvy Homes.