The Wee Seal

Janis Mackay; Illustrated by Gabby Grant

Available to buy

Quick Look

  • A lyrical book about the tender relationship between a young boy and a baby seal
  • Gabby Grant's soft illustrations brilliantly evoke the beautiful scenery of the Orkney Islands

The story of a tender relationship between a young boy and wild baby seal. Set in the Orkney Islands.

230 x 265 mm
Floris Books
Picture Kelpies
colour illustrations
Age Range:
From 3 to 6 years
24 pages
Publication date:
06 Oct 2022
Picture Kelpies
2nd edition


Jamie has been watching the wee white seal that lives on the beach. At night the wee seal cuddles up to its mother. In the morning she goes out to sea and leaves it alone like a strange white stone on the sand.

One day tourists come and crowd the wee seal but Jamie knows just what to do to protect it until its mother comes back...

Janis Mackay's lyrical prose tells the story of the tender relationship between a wild baby seal and the young boy who watches over it, while Gabby Grant's soft illustrations brilliantly evoke the landscape of the Orkney Islands.


'Janis is at her best with stories relating to the sea and this is a lovely innocent nature tale.'
-- Lothian Life

'This book has a beautiful island setting which very much reminded me of the illustrations in the Katie Morag books, so they might appeal to the same children.'
-- Anabel Marsh, Anabel's Children's Literature Blog

'An informative and gentle tale.'
-- Early Years Educator

'The soft illustrations brilliantly conjure up the landscape of Scotland. The illustrations of the seals are stunning, especially the one at the start of mum and baby and when they swim away at the end. A lovely story to share and then to go seal spotting like we did.'
-- Bookbabblers blog

'A very gentle picture book... Not only is it a story but it’s also educational and will serve to teach children about nature and seals in particular.'
- Armadillo

'This charming tale is accompanied by appropriate and delicate illustrations in muted colours which greatly add to the text. I very much enjoyed this book."
--The School Librarian

'Jamie's diligence gives the seal time to shed its baby fur and grow, following its mother’s song into the sea when it has reached proper maturity.'

'This is a beautiful story about a baby seal left on the shore by its mother... A touching story about nurture and care.'
-- Juno


Janis Mackay was born and grew up in Edinburgh, but moved to London to study journalism. She has an MA in Creative Writing and has held writer-in-residence posts in both Caithness and Sutherland. She currently lives in Edinburgh, where she teaches creative writing and works as a writer and storyteller. She is the author of the Magnus Fin series, and The Accidental Time Traveller, for older children.

You can also visit the author's own website at

Gabby Grant studied illustration at Westminster University, London. She combines illustration with graphic design and prop-making for TV and film, and has worked on programmes ranging from Newsnight to Harry Hill's TV Burp. She is the illustrator of three other Picture Kelpies, The Big Bottom Hunt by Lari Don, and Lewis Clowns Around and Harris the Hero, by Lynne Rickards.

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