Our fourth Preview title was Lenny’s Book of Everything – an outstanding novel about heartbreak and healing by award-winning author, Karen Foxlee. We’ve collected all of your Preview reviews to see what readers thought of the book, and the results are clear – this book touched the hearts of Preview reviewers all across Australia! People described the book as heartwarming, emotional and captivating, with free-flowing prose and loveable characters. For children and young adults, this book is a great exploration of the struggles we face as we grow up. Dealing with themes of illness and poverty, the book is full of great lessons for young adults about empathy, compassion, and understanding. Some Preview reviewers who also happen to be school teachers say they would absolutely introduce this book to their students. Take a look at these glowing reviews!
This book captivated me from the instant I started reading. Karen Foxlee has an amazing talent for getting inside the young protagonist’s mind and portraying her thoughts and experiences in a way that will appeal to a wide and varying range of readers. Lenny is loveable and engaging and seeing life through her eyes growing up with a little brother who is noticeably different from others tugs at the heartstrings in a way that I’m sure most readers will identify with. The excitement and wonder of the Burrell’s Build-It-At-Home Encyclopedia issues arriving every week is contrasted starkly with the sobering and foreboding fact that there is something not-quite-right with Lenny’s charming and endearing little brother Davey. The book plays these emotions against the reader well, often making them re-evaluate exactly where they are at emotionally. I would recommend this book to anyone from the ages of 10+, but especially to any book club or even a high school classroom as there is a wealth of information and some strong themes hidden in these pages which would make for some great discussion with other readers. My last piece of advice while reading this wonderful book – bring tissues. – Kahri, NSW
What a wonderfully written book. I was so excited to start reading Lenny’s Book of Everything when i received it in the mail from Better Reading. People who know me, know I’m a fan of young reader books. When the Spink family won the Burrell’s Build-it-at-home Encyclopedia and how they waited anxiously for each volume to arrive in the mail, bought back memories of my childhood with the Worldbook Encyclopedia and how I use to read volume by volume learning about the wonders of the world. Just like Lenny and Davey. I think Lenny’s Book of Everything was beautifully written through the eyes of a girl called Lenny about her and her brother Davey, who suffered from an illness called gigiantism. I couldn’t believe that a six year old could grow that tall. Lenny’s story of sibling love for each other and their mum was great, while also longing to learn about their father who left a hole in their lives when he left the family many years ago. I really felt for Lenny’s mum, Cynthia who sacrificed a lot to bring up both children while working two jobs to make ends meet. Having two healthy children would been hard in those days but imagine how hard it would of been with one also having an illness. Mrs. Gasper was cool too. I loved how she helped to look after Lenny and Davey. She was like one of the family. She reminded me of my parents coming from another country to settle in Australia for a new life. Overall, I thought Lenny’s Book of Everything was a beautifully written story about sibling love and family going through the highs and lows of an illness. The innocent humour of the kids was captured well. This is one book I would introduce to my students in class. I think it’s an easy read and can see that my students would enjoy reading it. This is my first Karen Foxlee book and am looking forward to reading more of her books. – Maria, SA
Karen Foxlee has written a heart touching, emotional and captivating story. Lenny and Davey are relatable personalities, telling their story so remarkably well. Its hard to not spend hours curled up, lost completely within their journey. Sad at times, though warm and homey, this story pays true respect to the soul touching relationship between siblings. A honest and raw story for teenagers and above. – Heidi, NSW
I was so excited to read this book as it was the first time I had been given a book to review. Right from the first page I was hooked. The author used great descriptive language that made you feel like you were part of the family. It brought out all types of emotions, from compassion and understanding to sorrow and devastation. These were also moments of happiness and hope. Lenny was a likeable character who protected her brother, mother and friends fiercely. I think this would make it a great book for young people to read because it demonstrates compassion towards people who are different. the letter to Burrells Publishing company also had me feeling a range of emotions form anger and frustration to understanding and towards the end, tears. It was an emotionally charged, uplifting book that I would highly recommend to readers of all ages! – Kim, VIC
I had the privilege of being an advance reader of this charming book. Reminiscent of the atmosphere of modern classics To Kill A Mockingbird and Wonder and yet, unique, Lenny’s Book of Everything gives you a magnified view into the ups and downs of life and growing up through it’s relatable characters. Written in such a poetic and evocative way, it was an absolute joy to read a book, which includes characters discovering the magic of books and the world of knowledge they bring you, whilst learning to navigate the world. Featuring themes of belonging, childhood cancer, inner conflict, family, friendship, community and knowledge, this is a page-turning, groundbreaking, must-read for ages 10+ right up until adulthood. Regardless of age, as the characters grow physically and emotionally, you will too. Personally, I feel 10 feet taller from reading this story and it has been a long time since I have read a book as deeply affecting, clever and beautiful. Do yourself a favour, buy the book and take a microscopic journey into the world of bug-loving Lenny Spinks. – Fleur, NSW