Lenny has a younger brother, who after a while isn’t really her little brother any more – since he “has a condition” and won’t stop growing. This becomes a challenge for Lenny, her mother and of course, Davey – especially as he nears school age.
In many ways, mum Cynthia is in denial, even though she has had “dark heart feelings” about Davey’s future right from the time of his birth. Thus, Lenny tries her best to understand and cope with the other complications of their family situation – neglectful absent father, remote Nanny Flora and hardworking mum, Cynthia, all while being a normal kid.
Like most families, they have their own quirkiness and ways to get on. Davey and Lenny love to imagine travel together. They long to get away to create a kinder world of freedom and adventure for their family.
A weekly delivery of the Burrell’s Build-It-at-Home Encyclopedia feeds their urges for discovery and creates an interesting side story. The kids absorb the facts voraciously (Lenny is obsessed with beetles and Davey with eagles), while mum fights to claim her winning free subscription to the encyclopedia.
A kindly neighbour, Mrs Gaspar, helps out by caring for the siblings while mum works multiple jobs. What an interesting character she is! Along with Mrs Gaspar, several significant others pop into their lives (including a love interest for mum; a long lost relative for Lenny…).
There has been great praise for this title, including this quote from author Melina Marchetta:
A beautiful read. I savoured every word and loved every character… such a big heart and not a beat out of place.
Lenny is searching – for her father, for a family connection, for meaning in her life beyond the day to day trials and challenges of Davey’s “condition”. These feelings could be part of any child’s life. With characters full of life and ideals, this story of both triumphs and heartaches will be enjoyed by many.
And did you notice the amazing cover? Have a look at it again once you have finished reading it!
What do you think of Lenny’s choices?
Is she a good sister?
Was it right for her to keep secrets from Lenny?
# Awards/nominations for ‘Lenny’s Book of Everything’ to date (May 1 2019) :
Longlisted Book of the Year for Younger Children, ABIA Awards 2019 AU;
Shortlisted Best Book for Older Readers, CBCA Awards 2019 AU;
Award Winner Best Children’s Book, Indie Book Awards 2019 AU