Lollipop and Grandpa's Back Garden Safari

Author: Penelope Harper
Illustrator: Cate James

Age: 3-5
RRP: £6.99
ISBN: 9781907912092
Publication Date: 15-03-2012
Format: Pb, 260mm x 260mm
Extent: 32 pages

Back gardens have never been this exciting!

Lollipop and Grandpa are intrepid explorers, always on the lookout for the next adventure! Armed only with binoculars, ham sandwiches and imagination, they set out on an exciting expedition in the back garden where they encounter Chimpan-trees, a Hippo-potta-compost and even a Croco-logus.

Underpinning the series is the relationship between an intelligent, inquisitive little girl and her mischievous grandparent who understands the workings of a child’s mind brilliantly. All stories combine the familiar trials and tribulations of being 4-years-old with great fantasy adventures arising from ordinary, everyday identifiable situations


 "Grandpa loves the wild" and he takes Lollipop on safari in the garden with binoculars and a picnic. There his imagination conjures fearsome dangers, including a hippo-potta-compost (a big bag of it) and a slippery Snake-Pipe (a garden hose). Lollipop seems unperturbed, until a roar from a clothes-lion (the wind in the washing?) has the two of them hurtling home. Witty and characterful, with stylish, expressive cartoons by Cate James, this is a delightful story about courage, make-believe and the joys of the outdoors."

The Sunday Times, Nicolette Jones, "Children's Book of the Week", 25th March 2012

"Lollipop and Grandpa's Back Garden Safari by Penelope Harper (illustrated by Cate James) is a lovely story about an everyday visit to a garden that becomes a great adventure. The young girl and her grandfather encounter Chimpan-trees, a Hippo-Potta-compost and a Clothes-lion. It's a gentle, humorous and sweet tale that is absolutely ideal for grandparents to read with young children."

The Telegraph, Martin Chilton, "Picture books that children will relish", 6th April 2012

"There’s an expedition fraught with potential danger in Lollipop and Grandpa’s Back Garden Safari (Phoenix Yard, £6.99) by Penelope Harper and Cate James. As Grandpa and Lollipop walk through the garden they are confronted with many exotic dangers past which they have to tiptoe. The story is quietly funny and children will enjoy working out what the terrible creatures really are. Cate James’ stylised illustrations are beautifully expressive, conveying movement and emotion. They are an excellent foil for Penelope Harper’s clever well-paced story."

The Scotsman, Jane Sandell, 31st March 2012

"Who would have guessed that the back garden could be such an exciting place? Lollipop and Grandpa set off, with binoculars, sandwiches and the most important thing - imagination. They find extraordinary things and only just reach safety in time! The vocabulary is descriptive and excellent for reading aloud. A great way to encourage children to have adventures in their own back garden or local park.  I foresee a great future for this lovely duo - their relationship is wonderful and Grandpa has such an insight into the way his little granddaughter thinks."

Parents in Touch

“Encouraging children to get out and explore the environment and explore their environment is not always easy, but after reading Lollipop and Grandpa’s Back Garden Safari it will be a struggle to keep them inside.

 The text and illustrations work delightfully together in this regard and provide great scope for children to  invent animals of their own...I was immediately drawn to this book by the simply illustrations and muted coloured, It’s great to see an adventurous female protagonist as well as a strong child/grandparent relationship. Fantastic for encouraging adventurous games and challenging gender stereotyping, as well as for developing word play and experimentation. The child-like voice will aooeak to fans of Charlie and Lola."

 Beth Cox, School Librarian

"This picturebook from Harper and James begins with the preparation stages of Lollipop and Grandpa’s expedition – the packing of blankets and ham sandwiches – and journeys with them through their back garden safari. As soon as the back door is opened, they are plunged into a familiar yet exotic land, one filled with dangers and hazardous creatures.

From the Croco-logus and the Hippo-potta-compost to the Chimpan-trees, Harper’s wordplay is hugely enjoyable for the child reader. Its insights into the transformative power of the imagination – to make a coiling snake from a drain pipe and a terrifying monster from the compost heap – is one which cannot fail to amuse and to remind us of the potential of one’s own back garden.

The style of the illustration in this book is sketchy and freehand, the environment surrounding Grandpa and Lollipop created with unselfconsciously messy lines and texture. The colour scheme is broad but natural, with a multitude of greens and blues dominating the page. There is nothing that jars with the eye, apart from the bright red of Lollipop’s boots and Grandpa’s backpack, keeping them as the constant focus of the page.

The very young audience will be especially engaged by the repeated motif of the appearing monster and Lollipop’s excited and frightened response. This is a triumph for Harper and James; a combination of beautiful wording and perfectly accompanying illustrations makes this an example of great storytelling for 4-6 year olds."

Inis Magazine

About the Author and Illustrator

Penelope Harper was a breakfast radio show host in the UK for many years, and has also worked in broadcasting in Australia. She most recently worked as a secondary school librarian, and the Lollipop and Grandpa series is her first foray into children’s fiction, inspired by her own relationship with her grandfather as a child. Penelope dreams of having a house by the sea when she grows up.

Cate James is an Edinburgh-based illustrator and printmaker.

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