‘The Sketchbook’ Book Review

'The Sketchbook' Book Review

With summer reading programs in full swing, I am always looking for new books to share with my kiddos. I especially appreciate books with a positive message. When recently offered the chance to review The Sketchbook written by Julia Seal from Peter Pauper Press in exchange for my honest opinion, I eagerly accepted the opportunity to add a new title to my home library.


Currently residing in a small village in England with her husband and two children, author and illustrator Julia Seal knew that she wanted to draw pictures for a living from the age of five. She graduated with a degree in graphic design and illustration. She first worked in the greeting card industry and then moved onto her dream job: illustrating books for children. The Sketchbook is the first picture book that she wrote and illustrated.


Recommended for readers between the ages of 5 and 7 in preschool through second grade, The Sketchbook tells the story of Lily, a little girl who loves to draw. Her favorite place to draw is the local harbor at which she draws boats, fisherman, sea creatures, children, and everything else that she sees. Lily is also super shy and keeps to herself. While she can find the extraordinary in the ordinary, Lily hides her drawings away in her sketchbook — until one day when a gust of wind changes everything. The 32-page full-color hardback book with dust jacket currently retails for $11.72 on Amazon with a list price of $16.99.


Lily is a shy little girl, which many kids can relate to. While other children are playing together on the beach, Lily watches from the sideline, sometimes even drawing herself playing with the others. When a gust of wind blows her drawings out of her sketchbook, Lily finds herself facing her shyness. I absolutely love the positive message. Lily finds her voice through her love of drawing and makes some new friends along the way. My 7-year-old daughter can easily read the book out loud to her younger siblings. The actual story is simple enough for younger readers to follow and enjoy. My only criticism is the last line of the book: “And now she’d found a voice, and friends to share them with.” The them refers to her drawings and accompanying stories, but the antecedent is unclear because of the oddness of the final sentence. Otherwise, I enjoy reading the book with my kiddos.

I especially love the soft and colorful illustrations in The Sketchbook, and so do my children. My youngest daughter, who is 19-months-old, sat next to me with the book on her lap as I worked on my review. She flipped through the pages, looking for familiar objects. Her favorite two-page spread is of Lily drawing dogs in the rain. She also likes the buoys on the boats, which remind her of balls. My older two children also enjoy looking at the illustrations. My preschooler son loves following along as I read the story aloud to him and his baby sister. The Sketchbook is definitely a big hit in The Parenting Patch household.

Front Cover of 'The Sketchbook' Back Cover of 'The Sketchbook'

Inside Pages of 'The Sketchbook' 1

Final Verdict

If you are searching for a positive book to share with your young reader, I definitely recommend checking out The Sketchbook written by Julia Seal from Peter Pauper Press. The book tells the story of Lily, a shy little girl who loves to draw in her sketchbook. One day a gust of wind sends her drawings flying and opens up a new world for Lily. The full-color illustrations bring the story to life. All three of my children enjoy the pictures, especially my toddler. My kiddos and I give The Sketchbook an enthusiastic thumbs up!

Purchase The Sketchbook on Amazon via my affiliate link.

Image Credits

‘The Sketchbook’ Book Review © 2019 Heather Johnson
Front Cover of ‘The Sketchbook’ © 2019 Heather Johnson
Back Cover of ‘The Sketchbook’ © 2019 Heather Johnson
Inside Pages of ‘The Sketchbook’ 1 © 2019 Heather Johnson
Inside Pages of ‘The Sketchbook’ 2 © 2019 Heather Johnson

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