By Author / Illustrator

David Almond, Lizzy Stewart


Magical Realism

Age range(s)



Walker Books








From Hans Christian Andersen Medal-winning author David Almond comes a heartwarming story that shows anything is possible with imagination and trust.

What should a puppet master do when he's old and alone, and all his puppets are gone? Sylvester makes one last puppet. But this one is different. When the old man speaks to him, Puppet speaks back. And then he walks...

While Sylvester shows Puppet the town, the playground and the wonders the world holds, Puppet in turn helps Sylvester to make a new friend, and share his puppet-making skills with the next generation in this wonder-filled story of creation and the circle of life.

Illustrated with sequences of wordless spreads by award-winning artist Lizzy Stewart, this is a modern-day classic.



Poignant, reflective and, ultimately, hopeful, David Almond's Puppet is, like his other books, a one-off original. As the story begins, it's impossible not to think of Pinocchio; it reads like a simply told traditional tale. Late one night, Silvester, a weary old puppet master, climbs the steep stairs to his attic workshop. Watched by mice, spiders and wood lice, he uses wire and tweezers, sandpaper and glue, to make one last puppet. What kind of story would the puppet be in?

As Silvester wonders aloud and introduces himself to Puppet, he is astonished to hear Puppet reply. That can't be possible, can it? But then Puppet starts to walk too and so Silvester takes his hand and through the town they venture. There are moments of fear and awkwardness but also of happiness and wonder. On their walk, they find Fleur and her mother, who both love Puppet too. Fleur begins to make puppets of her own and, together, they build Silvester and Fleur's Magical Puppet Theatre - which is brave and shambolic and marvellous.

This is a much gentler tale than Pinocchio; David Almond emphasises the courage of young people and the power of imagination, and the accompanying illustrations by Lizzy Stewart are sweetly expressive. Of course, this book would fit in beautifully as a read aloud alongside any lessons on puppet-making, but mostly I would recommend it as a book to encourage a sense of the joy of storytelling and to show that from endings can spring new beginnings.

240 pages / Reviewed by Louisa Farrow, teacher

Suggested Reading Age 7+


Silvester is tired and reclusive, remembering the life he once had with his lovely Belinda; the puppet shows they held were renowned far and wide. A van arrives to take all his once-revered work away for a museum exhibition and Silvester reminisces on his purpose. Woken that night, sitting in his attic workshop, he finds himself making one last puppet, for what else is a puppet master to do? The next day, to his surprise and delight, the puppet moves for himself, and so begins an adventure with new friends to be made and another glimpse at life.

Puppet is a book full of wonder, emotion, and artistry, both in its storytelling and its illustration. David Almond's lyrical tale highlights the loneliness and seclusion people can feel and how the simplest interaction can change someone's world overnight.  This is an important book for children, not just to highlight life for older people, but showing the difference that friendship and everyday contact can bring to any person's life.

A magical tale full of love, friendship, and wonder, I expect it will encourage many children to be creative and would be an excellent book on the reading curriculum. It also allows us a child's perspective of the challenges they face with their peers and older children, as well as community and the importance of empathy and inclusion.

The illustrations throughout by the talented Lizzy Stewart match the tale perfectly in their simplicity and monotone. The handmade nature of the images allows the reader to feel Silvester and Fleur's creativity and encourages readers to believe in their own talents and possibilities. Stewart does not over-illustrate and instead allows the viewer to feel the emotions and love of the characters.

A book to be read and reread, it is sad and uplifting simultaneously. Highly recommended.

240 pages / Reviewed by Lorraine Ansell, school librarian

Suggested Reading Age 7+


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