Lenny’s Book of Everything by Karen Foxlee Preview Reviews

Lenny’s Book of Everything by Karen Foxlee Preview Reviews

Our fourth Preview title was Lenny’s Book of Everything – an outstanding novel about heartbreak and healing by award-winning author, Karen Foxlee. Interested in what people have to say about this heartwarming novel? Take a look at our Preview Reviews:

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

Thank you to Better Reading for an advanced copy of Lenny’s Book of Everything by Karen Foxlee due out November this year. I truly do not know how to do this book justice with my review, how do I convince you all that you must read this book, that it will break your heart yet at the same time make you laugh out loud. Lenny the protagonist of the book is a smart, kind & courageous little girl who now has a baby brother that won’t stop growing with a rare form of gigantism. They are raised by their single proud mother who does her best to provided for them & the greatest gift she gave them was winning a monthly edition of Burrell build it at home encyclopaedia that in their world of worry is a shining light & something to escape to. Davey is like any normal 6 year old except in a grown mans body that everyone loves (thank god because I couldn’t have handled anyone being cruel to him). This book is about compassion, love, community and strength. When I try to tell people about this book I get a lump in my throat and while I think a novel like this can transcend every age with something to take away for everyone & what to be grateful for, I wouldn’t give it to a child under 12 to read only because of the heart wrenching moments. This book will be up there with other modern greats like The Book Thief that stole your heart. Thank you Better Reading and Karen Foxlee for this amazing literature that will stay with me forever, I know everyone will fall in love with the Spink family. – Penne, NSW

‘Lenny’s Book of Everything’ by Karen Foster is heartbreaking, yet at the same time, uplifting story. This book made me laugh and cry over and over. A beautiful simple read that will appeal on different levels to older children and adults alike. Karen Foxlee weaves a tale of a family who loves fiercely through a time of growing realisation of the sad goodbye to come. Imperfect characters, all with their own story, make this a rich and rewarding novel that will be loved by many. Skilfully constructed there were moments whilst immersed in the story that one just needs to pause and take in the beautifully written phrases that describe the depth of feeling the characters have. ‘Lenny’s Book of Everything’ will make you sad but it will also make you see love in the hard times. – Jennifer, 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 really enjoyed this book. It was quite quirky and well written and I enjoyed the development of the characters as the story progressed. – Astrid, VIC

What a beautiful story! Lenny’s Book of Everything is an emotional roller-coaster that discusses the difficult topic of illness and death whilst still being heart-warming. The lives of Lenny, Davey and Cindy Spink have been beautifully told, leading you through their tragedy in a delicate way. The way this family has dealt with such a difficult time left me feeling hopeful. I would highly recommend this to readers of any age. – Daneka, QLD

It took a while to get involved in the book & I think my age was the issue. Definitely suitable for both kids & adults although leaning more towards kids. I found myself reading it in Lenny’s voice which is something I tend to do with an enjoyable book. It was well written & easy to follow & I have to admit to being a little tearful in parts. – Sally, VIC

What a gorgeous book. I loved the way book followed with such a purity and innocence. I read this book as an adult and I really felt for Lenny and Davey. The world seemed so big and yet so small. I loved the way the author took us through the encyclopedia and wove it into the story so beautifully… it only gave the book more depth. I also loved the portrayal of the Hungarian neighbour. She too had such a innocence about her and led the children through her dreams. Yet despite her dream like state, she was a solid character and member of the family. She was solid and supportive. I thought of her as almost the fairy godmother. The other conversations that I enjoyed reading was between Lenny and her grandmother. True to form I have been present when the child has divulged some important information and the adult has said ‘hand me the phone’. So true!! This book is amazing and I would definitely recommend it to any family or friends who have children who are touched by cancer. I truly loved this book and it what I loved most was the transcendence that I felt going back to my childhood years. – Katarzyna, VIC

Lenny’s Book of Everything is a beautifully written compassionate story and a book I will be telling my friends and their older children that it is a ‘must’ read. One is drawn into this book very quickly and then you do not want to put it down but at the same time you will not want it to finish. I was totally captivated by this book and finished reading the last two chapters through tears that flowed so freely. This book is set to be a classic and I look forward to reading more of Karen Foxlee’s novel. – Margaret, VIC

There were many errors in the uncorrected proof, but overall this is a charming story. The characters are loveable. The prose flows naturally, making this book easy to devour. Foxlee captures the innocence and humour of children, making it suitable for young readers; whilst also portraying life’s many complexities making it enjoyable for adults too. The story follows Davey, a young boy who doesn’t stop growing. His worried mother takes a second job to feed and cloth his growing needs. Lenny, his older sister reads encyclopaedias with him, and together they experience the world through these pages. Their father is absent for most of the story, and although the audience feel the hole he has left in the children’s lives, the story focuses on the love between siblings, friends and others close to them. The kindness and love the characters have for Davey is touching, even when Lenny explores “prickly feelings” during these changing times. Her voice is honest and raw, providing contrast and balance to the sympathy other characters provide. I laughed, I almost cried, and surprisingly I was often reminded of my own childhood memories. Foxlee’s gift to me was the gift of writing this beautiful story. – Amber, WA

Lenny’s younger brother Davey has a rare form of giantism, he just won’t stop growing, The two kids are being raised by their single mum who works 2 jobs to keep a roof over their head, Every week an instalment of Burrells Encyclopaedic arrives, the kids learn the wonders of the world though these books, As Davey would say “Holy Batman” what a brilliant book, readers will be caught up in the kids lives all I can suggest is have a box of tissues on hand. – Deborah, NSW

Thank you #betterreading for my advanced copy of Karen Foxlee’s new novel, ‘Lenny’s Book of Everything’. “Holy Batman”, (as Davey would say), I absolutely devoured this brilliant novel. Through chuckles and tears, I was absorbed into the life of the ‘Spink’ family from the beginning. Lenny and her younger brother, Davey, live with their single mother, who in the eyes of Lenny, is made of worries. Working two jobs and juggling her family, with little for anything else, wins a set of ‘Burrell’s Build-It-At-Home Encyclopedia’. The arrival of each issue quickly becomes the highlight for Lenny and Davey. And the arrival of Timothy, Davey’s pet eagle – albeit, imaginary. As Davey’s health worsens, Lenny learns the true meaning of compassion, acceptance, love, friendship and… everything! ‘Lenny’s Book of Everything’ is a delightful read, for adults and older children alike. Just remember, you’ll need a box of tissues!! #lennysbookofeverything #karenfoxlee #BRPreview. – Rebecca, TAS

After their mother wins a subscription to an encyclopedia, Lenny and Davie enter a world of insects and eagles, moon landings and giants. At night they whisper plans to run away to the Canadian wilderness and build a log cabin. Before the encyclopedia their world was small. Their Mum, their next-door neighbour, school, and a hole where their father should be. Afterwards their world became full of futures, if only they could stop Davie from growing. For Davie has a “condition”. He never stops growing. And they don’t know why. Time in the novel is measured by the arrival of the encyclopedia, and Davie’s ever-changing height. Can Davie stop growing before they reach section Z? Lenny’s Book Of Everything transcends age. Lenny is a little girl but her problems are those of any age. How do you stop fate? I was there for Lenny, her dreams and her frustrations, her yearning for her father and most of all, her love for Davie. – Daniella, QLD

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

This novel defines ‘unputdownable’ – it is immensely moving and full of heart. The characters come to life and take you on their journey. I laughed, cried and my heart filled with both sadness and joy. This novel will stand the test of time and I’ll be the first person in the queue at its cinematic opening! I can’t wait for my 13 year old son to read it. To say I loved it doesn’t begin to describe how I felt reading it! – Dianne, SA

I was lucky to receive a preview copy to review of ‘Lenny’s Book of Everything’. Thank you Better Reading #BRPreview When I received it 2 days ago, I thought that it might not be my cup of tea…. but I was so wrong! This is my introduction to Karen Foxlee, and I’m now going to seek out her other works. I read this in around 6 hours and by the end was tearing up. Easy to be caught up in Lenny and Davey’s life, hoping for a different outcome, despite knowing that it had to be. I highly recommend this, just remember your tissues. #lennysbookofeverything. – Tracy, VIC

Lenny’s Book of Everything by Karen Foxlee I was fortunate enough to be sent an advance reading copy of this book. It’s a book which is hard to categorize and a story that stays with you after you have closed the pages. In a sense it reminded me of John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men. Narrator Lenny worries about Davey, her younger but much bigger brother and their single mother Cynthia Spink. They are dealing with hardships and illness, and with longings for a better life, a better outcome. Lenny wonders about her absent father and knows that her mother is ’thin with worrying.’ When their mother wins a set of Burrells Build it at Home Encyclopaedia, arriving in weekly instalments it opens knowledge and imagination for both. Her determination that her children will have the best that she can provide is expressed in her letters to Burrells. Lenny and Davey became real to me- I smiled at Davey’s imaginary eagle improbably named Timothy. I ached for Lenny with her longing to find her missing father. It might be a stretch for most ten-year olds but literate imaginative ten+ should love this book. – Sonia, WA

Have you ever reached the last page of a book and immediately wanted to go back to page one to revisit the story? This was my experience reading Lenny’s Book Of Everything. I read it so quickly that I wanted to take more time to get lost in the beautifully written words. It is a wonderful story that is tragic and heart warming, a tale of love and loss that touches the soul. The prose is so descriptive that you can see the surroundings and feel you know the characters. From the asthmatic Mrs. Gaspar to the annoying greengrocer Mr. King who “had a little round belly like he’d swallowed a baby” and “sparkly black eyes” that “danced all over Mother”. The story is told in Lenny’s voice and you can see her yearnings for a more traditional family such as that of her friend CJ Bartholomew. She craves knowledge of her absent father and as the “dark heart feelings” grow she becomes disobedient and rebellious. Get your tissues ready as Davey and the Burrell’s Build-It-At-Home Encyclopedia grow and you reach the inevitable conclusion. – Janelle, NSW

This book is about an intelligent, imaginative, curious young girl and her kind and loving brother with a health problem, Goliathus Goliatus, which means he could not stop growing. They have a harried, tenacious mother with a would be suitor, a missing father and an eccentric, loving neighbour/babysitter, a fake great aunt and other less involved characters, teachers and friends. These children win monthly issues of an encyclopaedia, the highlight of each month that feeds into their imaginations and intelligence and helps them to cope with their day to day lives. Lenny’s Book of Everything appeals to the emotional feelings of the reader and it is easy to empathise and feel sympathy for the family. They are surrounded by kindness, which emphasises the lack of unwanted practical help until towards the end when they have to accept that they need the intrusion of that practical help. I loved this book and think it is suitable for all age groups. It isn’t difficult to imagine their lives because the writing is so wonderfully descriptive of surroundings and personalities. – Gloria, SA

Thank you Better Reading and A & U for my ARC. This is a beautifully written book and, surprisingly, is a great read for all age groups. Younger readers will enjoy Lenny’s story of a young girl growing up too quickly as she helps to look after her brother battling a rare illness. The bond they develop as they wait for and study the weekly instalments of Burrell’s Build-It-At-Home Encyclopedia takes the children on a magical adventure which helps them transcend the reality of their lives. As an adult reader I loved Lenny’s prickly relationships with those around her, especially with her Great-Aunt Em as she tries to find some family connection with her absent father. The true delight and great sadness of the book is Davey, who is such a joy as he sees and brings out the best in everyone and everything. – Pamela, VIC

This is an extraordinary book, heart wrenchingly sad and deeply moving, but with a good deal of light as well. I absolutely loved it, as did my ten year old. It sparked a really interesting discussion between us. It’s a young adult novel, but we both enjoyed it equally. Lenny and her brother Davey are being raised by their single mother in somewhat straitened circumstances. Their mother has won a copy of an encyclopaedia which arrives in weekly instalments. Both are fascinated by the Encyclopaedia’s contents, and both discover particular interests. It becomes a focal point of their lives. They’re dreamers, although neither can articulate what they are trying to escape with their dreams. Davey suffers from gigantism, which impacts first on his social life, and gradually on his health. Lenny loves him, and is desperately protective, but is also sometimes fiercely embarrassed. This conflict is beautifully and subtly depicted, and was a highlight of the novel for me. The strong characterisations, subtle but evocative depictions of complex emotions, and achingly understandable situations make for an outstanding novel that should appeal across audiences and age groups. – Lorraine, ACT

This book had a complex storyline that en-captured a lot of emotion in both the story-writing and what it gets from its audience. – Ryan, QLD

This was a lovely story, that takes you back to your youth. Reminds how you interacted with other kids. I really enjoyed this story, it pulled the heart strings that’s for sure. – Nadya, QLD

Lenny’s Book of Everything is one of the most beautiful books I’ve ever read! Lenny and her little brother Davey are typical kids, excited at each arrival of Burrell’s Build-It-at-Home Encyclopedia… Except for one thing: Davey won’t stop growing! The handling of (and reactions to) difference/s is very realistic, and the children and their self sufficient mother make you want to give them all a hug (not that Cindy Spinks, super single mum, would willingly submit). This book is suitable for mature minded children and anyone older. Just be prepared to have your heart wrung… – Ayesha, NSW

“Lenny’s Book of Everything” is one of the most magical books I have read this year – and one that I didn’t want to stop reading. It is rare to find books which manage to deal with big themes of love and loss in such a quiet and humble manner. Readers are sure to empathise with Lenny, the protagonist, as Karen Foxlee has captured her voice so beautifully, and imbued her with such a quirky personality and sense of vulnerability, that she remains quietly in the background long after you’ve finished the final page. Foxlee’s writing sparkles with humour and a great eye for the details that, for many of us, go unnoticed. As a teacher, I can imagine how well this heartbreaking yet uplifting book could feature as a lower-secondary novel study, and I will be recommending it to my colleagues and students alike. To me, this book has all the hallmarks of a modern classic, as it tells an extraordinary story with great warmth and dignity. I highly recommend this novel. – Claire, QLD

A somewhat comical, but emotional story of strength and the love between siblings Lenny and Davey, as seen through the eyes of Lenny, tugs at the heartstrings from the very beginning. Lenny’s love for her brother, although sometimes a little unappreciated by Lenny herself, is what holds her together. It gives her the sense of being, belonging that she seeks. – Rae, SA

I loved this book and am most grateful to have been given the opportunity to read something that normally I would not have chosen. Beautifully constructed, the most amazing loveable characters. Entertaining, funny, sad, a pure delight that I can not recommend highly enough for anyone of any age. – Debbie, VIC

In the words of little Davey, “Holy Batman” I loved this book! I laughed, I cried, and I even found myself reminded of my own childhood memories of the subscription encyclopaedias my parents collected for us in the 90s! The book explores themes of family, friendship and loss from the perspective of a brilliant child narrator called Lenny. The characters come to life within the first few pages and it is easy to be caught up in Lenny and Davey’s life, hoping for them to get to live out their dream of getting to Great Bear Lake despite knowing that the ending could only be heartbreaking. This is an amazing and rewarding book that I know will be loved by all ages – put it on your must-read list! – Amanda, VIC

Lenny and her loveable brother Davey live with their mother. Their father has left and they are not sure if he is coming back. Every night, Lenny repeats her father’s name Peter Leonard Spink, in the hope he will return. Lenny has a special relationship with her little brother Davey. She is protective of him as he has an illness that makes him as tall as a man at 7 years of age. Lenny is also worried about her mother who works two jobs and is always tired. This book is well written and really descriptive in the way it details the places, the events, and the characters. There are happy moments in the story when each week an instalment of Burrell’s Build-It-At-Home Encyclopedia arrives, as well as sadness because of Davey’s illness. The ups and downs made it suspenseful and I wanted to keep reading to find out what would happen next. Overall, I really enjoyed reading this book and found the funny parts balanced out the sad parts well. I would recommend this book for kids 9 years and over as it deals with difficult issues like poverty and illness, and is sad at times. – Ethan, NSW

From almost the first page of ‘Lenny’s Book of Everything’ by Karen Foxlee, I knew this was going to be a special book. It’s aimed at older children, teen s and adults alike, and I can’t imagine anyone who won’t be moved by this book. The writing is absolutely sublime, almost every paragraph is to be savoured and enjoyed. It’s the story of the Spink family – 11 year old Lenny, her younger brother Davey, and their mother Cindy, and how the family comes to term with Davey’s illness, their absent father, relationships with friends and family and the highlight of their lives – the arrival of a weekly encyclopaedia series. I absolutely adored this book, I found myself sharing their worries, their good times and even anticipating the next encyclopaedia issue right along with them. And of course, I cried – full on ugly sobbing, the kind of crying that compels concerned family members to interrupt to ask if you’re alright. I was not alright – this is a story that had a deep emotional effect on me and will stay with me for a long, long time. It’s an absolutely beautiful story, heartbreaking and wonderful. – Lisa, WA

Wow – Once starting Lenny’s Book of Everything I could not put it down. This book had me hooked from the get go – I loved all of the characters – Lenny and Davey pulled at my heartstrings! Their amazing little dreams of getting away from everything through to Lenny looking after her little brother in the end. For just a little while I was able to be taken away into Lenny’s world and able to feel what she was feeling and how hard it must have been for her with a brother with a ‘condition’. I wished more than anything that I could help her through that time. Lenny is an amazing little girl with lots of compassion but also confusion about everything that is happening around her. I loved Lenny’s character and determination in wanting to become a Coleopterists. It was such a sweet book. This book was sad, but inspiring and beautiful all at the same time. This is a book that most ages would be able to pick up and read, I would recommend it! – Amy, ACT

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 beautiful story about family and siblings and single parents and life! Thoroughly enjoyed the way this novel was written and it’s themes explored in a tender and heartfelt way. Lenny and Davey, in fact all the characters will stay with you after the last page …. and play on your mind, which I find is the true mark of a great story. – Julia, VIC

Thank you Better Reading and A & U for my ARC. This is a beautifully written book and, surprisingly, is a great read for all ages as it cater for a broad age of readers without compromising plot and language . Younger readers will enjoy Lenny’s story of a young girl growing up too quickly as she helps to look after her brother battling a rare illness. As an adult reader I loved Lenny’s prickly relationships with those around her, especially that with her Great-Aunt Em as she tries to find some family connection with her absent father. The true delight and great sadness of the book is Davey, who is such a joy as he sees and brings out the best in everyone and everything. – Pamela, VIC

This is a book I had difficulty putting down. Amazing characterisation pulling you along with every chapter. Definitely one I’ll read again. – Jodie, WA

This. Book. Holy. Batman. It’s the story of little Lenny Spink, aspiring coleopterist and all-round-great-kid, daughter to firecracker Cynthia who has been worn down by life as a single mum, and big sister to Davey who obsessed with Golden Eagles and has a rare form of gigantism causing him to grow to be bigger than an adult man by the time he is seven years old. The novel is narrated by Lenny reflecting on her childhood and her struggles to navigate the intersecting emotions she had regarding her brother – love, pride, responsibility, shame, anger and fear. Lenny is likeable and fundamentally human, making no apologies for the way she feels. She is fiercely protective of her family. The rest of the characters are similarly drawn, with the elderly Hungarian neighbour/babysitter/dreamer of prophetic dreams Mrs Gaspar and the wolf in sheeps clothing Mr King and various childhood friends popping in for doses of human emotions, dramatic progression or comic relief. Foxlee uses the brilliantly imaginative device of the Burrell’s Built it at Home Encyclopaedia (delivered in sections each friday) to drive the novel and mark key moments in the children’s development. She’s the Queen of Figurative Language and the book is absolutely beautifully written. It feels like a mix between To Kill a Mockingbird, The Book Thief, and Cloudstreet. Foxlee explores complex issues of grief and the many dimensions of familial love with an expert hand and a richness of treatment that makes it feel like an important lesson in how to be human. – Katie, NSW
Lenny’s Book Of Everything, as the title suggests has a little of everything. I loved Lenny, Davey and their mother Cynthia. I was enjoying it immensely and was surprised to be reminded that it is ‘middle fiction’ (10 years +). I think it has a charm would be enjoyed by anyone from 10-99! Any book that includes references to Days of Our Lives has won me. Lenny, as the narrator is a worrier and deeply protective of her younger brother, while Davey’s beauty of spirit inspires everyone he meets. Set in the mid 70s, Lenny and Davey eagerly wait the arrival each week of their encyclopaedia. As they work their way through A-Z, they not only learn about the world but also love, loyalty and friendship. Mrs Gaspar, Nanny Flora and even Martha Brent all become part of their extended family. Foxlee’s plot cleverly counterpoints the weekly content of the encyclopaedia with the progress of Davey’s gigantism. Cynthia and Martha’s correspondence is delightful. In Lenny’s Book Of Everything we see a community coming together to support a fiercely independent little family in their time of need. – Terese, TAS
As heartbreaking as this book was, it was also a beautiful story. A story about love, loyalty and friendship. A story about a big sister and her little brother. Lenny is a spirited big sister to loved by all Davey. She’s fiercely protective and caring, but terribly sad and worried. Very clever use of the encyclopaedias, where the siblings spend their their time reading and learning about the world. Gosh I loved this book. Definitely a #bleakbutbeautiful read. – Hanadi, NSW
Lenny’s Book of Everything is a beautifully written book for both older children, teenagers and adults. This novel brings you into Lenny’s world and her insight into her everyday life, and what her life is like for her seen through her eye. The characters of Lenny and Davey is special and the love shared between them is beautiful and shows the bond between siblings. All characters in the book all intertwine and complement each other. I really enjoyed the character of Davey, the strength and resilience , he shows while still having the child innocence and trust and understanding his situation. The themes within the novel works well with the characters. The book is heartbreakingly sad, but would definitely read again. – Angela, SA
Lenny is just your average kid. Her brother, on the other hand, is not. There is nothing average about Davey. Davey is different. Lenny’s Book of Everything chronicles the young life of Lenny and her journey to discover some stark realities of life. Lenny’s father left when she was young. Her mother, Cynthia, has to do what she can to make ends meet, working two jobs to get by. One of the few highlights, is the arrival of Burrell’s Build-It-at-Home Encyclopedia. As each issue arrives, Lenny and Davey discover a world of knowledge from A to Z. But a world full of knowledge won’t stop Davey growing. eventually, it gets to the point where Davey – barely nine years old – is taller than the average man. This is only the beginning. Lenny has to learn to cope with having a big-little brother, alongside the usual dramas involved in growing up. Ultimately, Lenny’s Book of Everything is a bittersweet tale of having to grow up too quickly, and accepting that sometimes life isn’t fair. – Amy, QLD
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
It’s really well written. A difficult emotional subject handled beautifully. I read it over two days needing to know what happened next. The theme will make you cry and want to hug your loved ones. The characters are very real, like your own family. I was happy to finish it as it I found it sad. It feels like the author put her whole self into the book. It’s quite complex but also also simple to read and easy to follow. – Penny, SA
Outstanding, heartbreaking, uplifting. Every review needs those words. This book about a flawed little family with well developed characters will break the hardest of hearts. You find yourself wanting to keep reading to see what happens next. It is presented in short quirky chapters that build like the virtual set of encyclopaedias. It reads like the author, Karen Foxlee, has absolutely nothing left in the tank after writing this, it’s full of emotion and absorbing. – Rodney, NSW
An emotional story of childhood illness, childlike optimism, love, humour, friendship and innocence. you are absorbed in to the Spink family and your heart will break. You can feel every emotion the characters go through on their journey. Mrs Gasper was my favourite character. If you have a heart, it will break reading this book. – Simon, NSW
Karen has an exquisite way with words. The first sentence drew me in and by the end of first paragraph, I was completely committed to the book. I fell in love with Lenny’s voice – it is so unique and melodic. His voice still reverberates in my mind and he will be with me for a long while. A stunning heartbreaking book that I thoroughly cherished. – Aida, NSW

Profound. This would be the word I would use to describe Lenny’s Book of Everything by Karen Foxlee. There were several times during the book when I felt restless at the lack of ‘action’, but at the same time I couldn’t stop turning those pages because of the beauty of Foxlee’s writing! Her attention to descriptive detail is second to none, and the way she can express the subtleties of the character’s emotions without being overt is simply stunning. There is a sadness that permeates much of the storyline which would make me more inclined to recommend it for readers over 13 years of age, but the depiction of tenderness within a sibling relationship, and the everyday loyalty of family and friends amidst life’s hardships are as encouraging and uplifting as they are heartbreaking. A beautiful story. – Clare, VIC

“Lenny’s Book of Everything”, by Karen Foxlee, is truly the most beautifully written book I’ve ever read. The book is narrated by Lenore (“Lenny”), a young girl whose younger brother, Davey, won’t stop growing. We see the world through Lenny’s eyes and, through her innocent observations and descriptions, we soon grow to love her and Davey, along with their hard-working mother and their Hungarian neighbour. The complications of life in the children’s household contrast with the predictable and eagerly-awaited arrival of weekly installments of “Burrell’s Build-It-A-Home Encyclopedia”. Each week, the children explore the world through the pages of the encyclopedia, dreaming of far-away places and experiences. The exchange of letters between the children’s mother and Martha Brent, the General Sales Manager at Burrell’s, is one of the most touching aspects of the book. “Lenny’s Book of Everything” is aimed at readers aged 10 and over, but I defy any adult to read it and walk away feeling as if they have read a “book for children”. I rarely cry when I read a novel, no matter how touching the subject matter, but I read “Lenny’s Book of Everything” with tears streaming down my face. In a word, it’s magnificent. – Alison, QLD

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Lenny's Book of Everything by Karen Foxlee: Your Preview Verdict

Kids & Ya

24 October 2018

Lenny's Book of Everything by Karen Foxlee: Your Preview Verdict

Publisher details

Lenny's Book of Everything
Karen Foxlee
Allen & Unwin
Children’s Fiction, Fiction
24 October, 2018


A multi-award-winning book about finding good in the bad that will break your heart while raising your spirits in the way that only a classic novel can.

WINNER: 2020 NSW Premier's Literary Awards, Ethel Turner Prize for Young People's Literature WINNER: 2019 QLD Literary Awards, Griffith University Young Adult Book Award HONOUR BOOK: 2019 CBCA Book of the Year, Older Readers SHORT-LISTED: 2019 Prime Minister's Literary Award, Young Adult Fiction NOMINATED: 2020 CILIP Carnegie Medal
Lenny, small and sharp, has a younger brother Davey who won't stop growing - and at seven is as tall as a man. Raised by their mother, they have food and a roof over their heads, but not much else. The bright spot every week is the arrival of the latest issue of the Burrell's Build-It-at-Home Encyclopedia. Through the encyclopedia, Lenny and Davey experience the wonders of the world - beetles, birds, quasars, quartz - and dream about a life of freedom and adventure. But as Davey's health deteriorates, Lenny realises that some wonders can't be named.A big-hearted novel about loving and letting go by a bestselling and multi-award-winning author.


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