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Book Review: Sidney Makes a Wish by Lisa Thompson (Barrington Stoke)

Illustrated by Jess Rose


For ages 5+

I'm always on the look out for young reader chapter books. The 'Little Gems' series are throughly reliable for a child transitioning from reading picture books. I've often gifted them to my KS1 book club children at the end of term and been so pleased when they've told me they've finished their first chapter book. Yay!

As always with Barrington Stoke published books, the reader is treated to dyslexia and learning difficulty-friendly fonts, paper and illustrations. Their books are slimmer and provide readers with that altogether essential sense of accomplishment of finishing a book and pride in their reading journey, whether they're more reluctant readers or not. I always feel excited about their books - they choose to work with only the best authors and illustrators so that readers feel on parr with their peers reading more lengthy and challenging books, as the maturity-level in these slimmer tomes is pitched perfectly each time.

About the book

With colourful fun puzzles and games within the end papers, we are already off to a super start. Jess Rose's illustrations are so colourful and engaging, pitched perfectly for 5+, and are regularly featured every few pages throughout the story.

Sidney is on the walk to school with his mum one morning when they come across a wishing well. A new concept to Sidney, he starts to wonder whether it might solve his friendship problems at school and asks his mum all about it. At school, Billy used to be Sidney's best friend, but now he's much more interested in playing with Austin, which makes Billy really sad! What if the Sidney wished for things Billy really likes, perhaps he will want to stop being friends with Austin and come back to play with him? Each morning Sidney makes a wish, but things don't go to plan at all, and the wishes just don't seem to be working or helping at all.

Sidney's mum makes friends with a dad new to the school, who has a daughter in Sidney's class. They start to walk to and from school together more often and really enjoy each others company. Gradually, Sidney realises that his wishes aren't working out and that Billy isn't going to be the friend he once was... however, he's got one last wish and he heads towards the wishing well for the last time - "I wish I had my very own friend."

Sometimes the solution is right in front of our eyes.

A truly sweet story that will resonate with every little one.

Free download

'Sidney Makes a Wish' drawing activity created by Barrington Stoke:

Download PDF • 1.09MB

About the creators

Lisa Thompson (author)

Lisa Thompson is a children’s novelist and the author of the best-selling The Goldfish Boy, The Light Jar and The Day I Was Erased. Lisa’s novels have been nominated for several prestigious awards including the Carnegie Medal, the Branford Boase Award and the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize.

Jess Rose (illustrator)

Jess Rose is an Author, Illustrator and Designer born and raised in Yorkshire. She loved to draw from a very young age. At University she studied print and pattern and went onto work in design. Her love for storytelling has always been there, using pictures to create the stories from her imagination.

Key themes




playground dynamics

Grab a copy

Buy here through my affiliate link at or purchase from your local independent bookshop...

Publication date: 1 September 2022

Format: Paperback

Also by Lisa Thompson for Barrington Stoke for ages 9+:

*My review copy was kindly sent to me by the publisher.

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