Se7en’s Book of the Week: Tidy by Emily Gravett

Every now and then a book lands on my desk that instantly inspires my kids to create and try and make their own version… I think it is the natural flow of of admiration for a book well created. We would love to introduce you to Tidy by Emily Gravett, published by PanMacmillan South Africa.


Our love for Emily Gravett and her beautiful books was taken to a completely higher level when we met her a while back. Her books are reliably brilliant. When we saw there was a new Emily Gravett book called Tidy, about to launch excitement rose. We knew it would be good and the artwork would be fantastic, but this book is more than good, it is inspiring.

The story is about a badger called Pete. Of course everything rhymes and the rhythm is great, throughout the story. Pete likes things to be neat, really neat and “tidy,” in fact Pete is just a little obsessive and right down to bathing the birds and scrubbing the rocks. And then… well he lives in the woods with his woodland friends, and a leaf falls to the ground. Endless beautiful autumn leaves come tumbling down. He cleans ALL the leaves and then the trees look scrappy, he takes out the trees and when it rains it gets muddy… even that wasn’t neat enough, concrete was the solution… and here the book gets a little poignant and Pete realises his mistake… and all his friends gather together to put things right, and a happy slightly messy picnic ends it all. Pete had to learn to live with a little mess and disorder in his world. You can meet and learn how to draw Pete in the Guardian, well worth stopping by.

There is a subtle environmental message here, the world needs trees and woodlands and things to be just the way they are. There was another message for the somewhat overzealous mother person, who loves everything tidy… until one day a wide eyed child looked me in the eye and said, “Well what’s the point of playing then?” Just like Pete I had a lesson to learn and our house has been a lot messier ever since.


Professionals would call it die-cuts, we would call it magic… When you open up the cover you can see through to a number of pages behind it… and it immediately reminded me of the view boxes we wold make when I was little. I remember vividly creating fairytale view boxes with a friend and ballet stories for a school project.

Se7en+1 Steps to a View Box


  1. You need a sturdy box, like a shoebox and some card from from a cereal box. We cut the cereal box into rectangles to fit the box, and began planning our scenes…
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  3. We wanted to create bright background scenes and acrylic paints work best for that. We also wanted to create the woodland effect with lots and lots of leaves… so we painted with toothpicks.
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  5. We painted inside the box and cut windows in our scenes as well…
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  7. Next step might require a little help from a grownup, cut a window at the front and back end of the box as well as in the lid of the box… we cut holes between our trees as well… the more light that you can get into your box the better.
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  9. We covered the lid and the back end of our box with transparent coloured paper.
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  11. The scene is set…
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  13. Meanwhile our resident artists created some figures… that we cut out and popped onto toothpicks…
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  15. We cut one or two inch slits in the base of the box, and ten added our toothpick characters to the game. That way you can move the characters around a little bit when you play with your work of art.


And we were done…


Fromm front to back, there is a whole lot action going on in that box!!!


When you hold your box to the light a whole world of play is going on…



Thank you so much to PanMacmillan South Africa for the review copy of Tidy by Emily Gravett. This is not a sponsored post and opinions expressed are as usual completely our own.

8 Replies to “Se7en’s Book of the Week: Tidy by Emily Gravett”

  1. Yes Marcia, there is that… Ouch!!! Lesson learned, my impeccable home became a lot less so after that!!! Hope you guys have a fantastic weekend!!!

  2. Mrs FF, my kids love making little worlds inside boxes and this book inspired them, they immediatley wanted to start making there little woodland. Very sweet, in every way… one of those projects that can be as complicated or as easy as you like!!!

  3. Oh Emily Gravett, you stopped by and left a comment, and totally made our day… Thank you for the lovely lovely books you write!!!

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