Locked out Lily by Nick Lake and Emily Gravett, reviewed by Catherine

Locked Out Lily tells the story of a girl whose mum is having a baby. She’s about to become a big sister but she’s not happy about it! Lily is sent to her granny’s house when her parents go to hospital and that’s when strange things start happening. She runs away back to her house and realises she is locked out. Lily finds a talking crow who tries to help her, along with a band of his friends. Mouse, Mole and Snake are all talking creatures too who each help Lily in their own unique way.

Some of the other characters include the father-thing, the mother-thing and the baby-thing. These are like replacements of Lily’s family but they have empty black eyes and are not all they seem. Nick Lake is good at writing scary scenes with Lily and these demons – you don’t really know what they might do and the reader feels constantly on edge.

My favourite character was Mole because although she can’t see, she still helps Lily as much as she can. It’s not exactly a friendship between Lily and the animals but it is funny when Lily asks Crow if she’s dreaming and he does a poo on her head and asks, ‘Would that happen in a dream?’

Emily Gravett’s illustrations are amazing. I like how they are only done in black and white  but they still look and feel very real. She is famous for her drawings of little mice and some of the best pictures are the ones with Mouse. I wonder if Nick Lake put a mouse in his book for that exact reason?!

About the book

A startlingly original, stunningly-illustrated modern classic about learning to face your fears from the multi award-winning partnership of Nick Lake and Emily Gravett.

Lily just wants things to go back to the way they were: before she got sick, before her parents decided to have another baby. So when she’s sent away to stay with her grandmother while her mum has the baby, Lily is determined to go home. But she doesn’t expect to find people in her house – people who look like her parents, but definitely aren’t … Together with some unlikely animal companions, Lily must face her fears and summon the courage to break into her own house, and defeat ‘The Replacements’ before the night is out. 

Nick Lake’s atmospheric story of family and friendship is brought to spectacular life by Emily Gravett, twice winner of the Kate Greenaway Medal. 

‘A book of such wit and flair and delight: the kind of book you finish and immediately begin again, so that you can live again alongside the characters’ Katherine Rundell, bestselling author of The Explorer