Book review: Lenny & Lucy, by Philip Stead, illustrations by Erin Stead

Stead, Philip. Lenny & Lucy. Illus. Erin Stead. “A Neal Porter Book.” Roaring Book Press, 2015. unp. $17.99. ISBN:978-1-59643-932-0. Gr. K+. P8 Q8

Peter is not happy that he has to move as he no control over it. I too remember moving when I was only six years old and that I had no control. Was the move hard?: no, but it was scary. Peter and his dog, Harold, soon find friends. Friends, Lenny and Lucy that Peter makes up in his imagination. These imaginary friends and the friendship of a young girl Millie are what finally make his new home, truly home. The color illustrations go along with Peter’s moods and help to tell the story.

Verdict: A book, which offers the true meaning of friendship and that a move is not always bad.

April 2017 review by Carol Bernardi.

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Stead, Philip. Lenny & Lucy. Illustrated by Erin Stead. “A Neal Porter Book.” Roaring Book Press, 2015. unp. $17.99. ISBN:978-1-59643-932-0. Gr. K+. P6 Q8

Peter, a small boy, moves with his father and his dog to a dark house across the bridge from  a dark wood.  Peter is afraid, and Harold, because he is only a dog, cannot help. In an attempt to protect the house against his fears, Peter creates guardian figures from blankets and pillows, stations them by the bridge, and names them Lenny and Lucy.  Surreal ink and subtly colored illustrations highlight Peter’s isolation and fears, and warmer colors show the comfort of having friends, though the friends are merely stuffed creatures.  Resolution comes when a neighbor girl investigates Lenny and Lucy.

Both the story and illustrations are unsettling and leave questions unanswered: where is Peter’s mother; why does his father not notice Peter’s distress; why did Peter not explore the new neighborhood and discover Millie’s house; why did the household have so much unused bedding?  Though moving household is distressing–especially for small children–I am not sure that the story in this oddly appealing picture book carries enough substance to offer comfort.

Verdict: Recommended for public libraries, chiefly for the quality of the illustrations.

August 2017 review by Jane Cothron

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