The Book Activist reviews Tidy by Emily Gravett

Age 3+

Pete likes everything to be neat and tidy - but sometimes it’s good to know when to stop.

Award winning author Emily Gravett has written many acclaimed picture books, including Wolves and Little Mouse's Big Book of Fears.  This lovely new story is all about a badger called Pete who is obsessed with keeping the forest tidy!   

From making sure each patch of flowers match, to washing and tidying all the forest animals, even grooming the fox, Pete spends all day and night tidying.  No matter how hard he tries, Pete finds he can never make EVERYTHING tidy and so takes drastic action to keep the forest neat, with disastrous consequences. Will Pete learn the error of his ways and discover that actually, sometimes it’s okay to be a little bit messy?

Emily Gravett

Emily Gravett

This is such a fun story.  You can’t help but feel a little bit sorry for Pete; every time he thinks he’s tidied everything up, something else is in a mess.  Something lots of us can probably relate too – especially mummies!  The idea of a badger hoovering the forest is very funny, and children will enjoy the humour which runs through the whole story.  The illustrations are gorgeous, bringing the enchanting forest and its inhabitants to life.  As Pete goes about his tidying, you can see the animals wondering what on earth he’s going to do next!  With rhyming text, the narrative works brilliantly and just at the end, when Pete thinks the forest is perfectly tidy, he realises that actually, he has made a big mistake!  Thankfully, he sets about making everything right again, with help from his woodland friends.

(Video courtesy of Book Beak ( and is not officially endorsed by Two Hoots, Macmillan or Emily Gravett)

Tidy is a lovely tale recognising that, even though our hearts are in the right place, we sometimes get it wrong.   Our mistakes may seem huge, but very often with a bit of help, we can make things better.  Tidy is a reminder that we need to look after our beautiful forests and woodlands and it shows that mess, sometimes, is allowed!

Victoria Dilly, The Book Activist

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