Book Reviews

Book Review: A Song of Gladness by Michael Morpurgo and Emily Gravett (ARC)

Rating: 5/5

This is a gorgeous new picture book by Michael Morpurgo and Emily Gravett aimed at 3-5 year olds, but actually one for all ages. It certainly has something we all need to hear and will be released next month.


Travel the globe in this inspiring journey through the animal kingdom. A Song of Gladness is a timely reminder of the beauty and importance of the natural world from two of today’s most celebrated children’s book creators.

From a blackbird in a Devon garden to leopards in the African savanna, hibernating bears and chimpanzees high in the forest canopy, A Song of Gladness reminds us all of our connection with nature, and with each other, and the urgent need for us to join together in caring for the planet and every creature in it.

Publisher: Pan Macmillan


This is a beautiful book in all senses – its subject, its prose, the wonderful illustrations. It’s about something we all know and, yes, a song we all need.

The premise is a lovely, timely concept – the story of a man talking of our sadness to a blackbird in his garden. The sadness of humanity that has led to many of us losing sight of our connection with nature, with animals, with all the world around us. But Blackbird has an idea and she sends it on its way to all the creatures of the world.

The language is so beautiful – a joy to read out loud – but then you wouldn’t expect anything less from Michael Morpurgo, and the illustrations by Emily Gravett swoop through the pages carrying us along with the whispering animals all around the world.

My children aged 7 and 5 loved it. I started reading it out loud as they played. At first they peered over asking me to turn the book to show the pictures, but they soon climbed up beside me for a better look.
It was lovely to spot the animals and talk about the new words in the text. My son (5) liked following the musical notes from page to page and we talked about what the sadness might be, and how ‘singing as one’ might help our hearts. There’s plenty to talk about. I really appreciated the authors contextualisation at the end – it really clarifies the timing and sentiment of the book. I have to say though – I’d really love to hear the song, we (‘dad’) managed to read a little of the melody but we were left intrigued.

A Song of Gladness is such a delicious read which I highly recommend to families young and old. It captures something of our shared experience – both over this difficult year and long before it – and joins the chorus of voices pleading for our action to truly appreciate and save our home. I may have to buy a copy to hold in my hands.

Thank you to Netgalley and Pan Macmillan for the opportunity to review this ARC copy.

For more information visit:

Pan Macmillan here

Michael Morpurgo here

Emily Gravett here

Release date: 29th April 2021

Find easy ways to be environmentally friendly here. We can all sing our part!

Thanks for Reading!

Anna xx

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