Paperback | 40 pages | 250 x 200mm
Publication October 2022 | ISBN 9781802582222
Merlin won’t go out. Not without his best friend Hobbs. Join Merlin as he goes on an adventure to learn how to say ‘Goodbye Hobbs’.
A story of what it means to love and lose a friend, and to find reasons to go for a walk again.
Emma Bettridge is a theatre producer and writer. She has worked for several major theatres and festivals including Bristol Old Vic, Pulse festival at the New Wolsey Theatre, Caravan2014 (Farnham Maltings/Brighton Festival) and the Pleasance London and Edinburgh Theatres. Emma has always worked with children and animals, through training young horses and dogs, to PGL residential camps and as a riding school teacher for many years.
Her first picture book Goodbye Hobbs was published in October 2022, with her second picture book Red is Home out this coming October. She is also working on a YA queer love story about two girls working on a ranch in rural Wales.
Josephine Birch is a print maker with a first class B.A. in Illustration and a postgraduate scholarship from The Royal Drawing School, after which she achieved a first class M.A. in Children’s Book Illustration at CSA. She is also a workshop leader and lecturer in Illustration.
Longlisted for World Illustration Award 2021
Shortlisted for Bologna Children’s Book Fair Award for Illustration
Won Laureate Award for Illustration for Children at Image of the Book Awards
Selected for the International d-pictus Showcase
Illustrations were selected for the Society Of Illustrators 2023 exhibition and book
Longlisted for the Children’s Literature Festivals Book Awards 2024
'Emma Bettridge’s text is full of lyricism, Josephine Birch’s painterly illustrations fluid and expressive, and this is a special book to share.' Andrea Reece, LoveReading4Kids
'What a truly beautiful, sensitive and moving story which is complemented by the most touching illustrations. A lovely choice for children (or adults) who are grieving and struggling with their loss.' Clare Fulton, Scottish Book Trust
'Exploring feelings of love, loss and moving forward following a bereavement, this is a lovely story to discuss issues around grief with younger children.’ Primary Times Devon
'For every child who has ever lost a pet (or grieved for anyone), this touching book is a must.' Sally Morris, The Daily Mail
'This lovely tale, simply told, will help children who have also lost a friend to say goodbye and find comfort in their outdoor adventures.' Maria Hodson, Countryfile
'A wonderful, gentle picture book about bereavement and grief, perfect for reading to young children and using as a discussion point for further conversations on loss.' Barbara Brand, The School Librarian
'This poignant and beautifully illustrated book deals gently with death and mourning.' Eve Bearne, English 4-11
'Josephine Birch has created illustrations which perfectly complements Emma Bettridge’s text making this a coherent, beautiful and well-designed book which would work well on so many levels in the classroom.' Mary-Rose Grieve, Just Imagine
'A moving story about grief seen through the eyes of a dog. The illustrations characterise the dogs beautifully and bring a joyful energy to Merlin’s search. There is a comforting message that our loved ones, and loved pets, stay with us even if we can’t see them.' BookTrust
'Goodbye Hobbs is an absolute joy to read aloud and a joy to look at – the design, the text layout, the illustrations… this book has a wonderful rhythm to the words and Josephine’s artwork is full of movement and fluidity like the wistful smells the main character chases.' Clare Helen Welsh, Books That Help
'An amazing story one that I recommend children reading as it might help them come to terms when grief strikes after an animal passes away.' BookRead2Day
'Quiet, meaningful, filled with feeling…a book that helps you find reasons to go for a walk again. Beautiful.' Mary Esther Judy, FallenStar Stories
'The illustrations are beautiful, perfectly capturing the whispers of memories in the trees.' It's All About Stories
'Josephine Birch’s painterly illustrations of the walk capture the complex emotions of Merlin. Her initial sombre colour palette changes to one of warm autumnal shades, and her subdued brush strokes become more exuberant as his mood lifts with each new discovery of his friend’s scented messages. A helpful book for any parents or educators wanting something to help explain the feelings surrounding the loss of a loved one.' Jill R Bennett, Red Reading Hub
'This picture book, Hobbs’s messages to Merlin, are so perfect in reassuring children and I just love how beautifully this is done and how lovely all of the illustrations are.' The Strawberry Post
'A poetically sad, but hopeful story about overcoming grief.' Storybook Mamma
'This is one of the nicest books I’ve come across for children to help them learn about loss and how to deal with grief.' Paper Plane Children's Books
'This book really brought a lump to my throat. It’s beautifully done; gentle, lyrical, sensitive and calm.' Lights out with Louise