|Lenny's book of everything|
Author: Foxlee, Karen
In 1970s Ohio, Lenny and her younger brother, Davey, who suffers from a rare form of gigantism, cope with his declining health by poring over each installment of Burrell's Build-It-at-Home Encyclopedia Set.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 4.50
Points: 10.0 Quiz: 500652
|Reading Counts Information:|
Interest Level: 6-8
Reading Level: 3.70
Points: 17.0 Quiz: 76776
Kirkus Reviews (-) (02/01/19)
School Library Journal (03/01/19)
Booklist (+) (02/01/19)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (00/04/19)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 02/01/2019 *Starred Review* In 1970s small-town Ohio, Lenny Spink’s little brother, Davy, begins to grow. And grow. And grow. Almost five feet tall as a first grader, he dwarfs his peers and alarms his mother, who’s held a “dark heart feeling” for Davy since his birth. As a distraction from his perplexing growth, Davy and Lenny devour their new encyclopedia set, which trickles out one volume at a time via mail. Davy’s gigantism is discovered to be due to tumors on his pituitary gland, and the growing is abated, or so it seems, until the trend quickly reverses, putting Davy’s life in jeopardy. With exquisite detail and heartrending, evocative prose, Foxlee crafts a story that reads like a classic. Lenny is at once ashamed and fiercely protective of her brother. Almost as a form of self-protection, she turns her obsession away from his fraught health and toward a search for family, befriending an elderly woman in town whom she believes, despite evidence to the contrary, to be her great aunt. Though Lenny yearns for the return of her long-lost father, she does not lack for community. Whether it’s her neighbor and babysitter, Mrs. Gaspar, or Martha, her mother’s point of contact at the encyclopedia company, there are plenty of people who care for her and Davy. An imaginative and surprisingly tender story of the unbreakable bond between siblings. - Copyright 2019 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 03/01/2019 Gr 4–7—Set in Ohio from 1969 to 1977, this novel tells the story of Lenny Spink's family and community, including her mother Cindy, her absentee father, her maternal grandmother Nanny Flora, and her brother Davey, who has a form of gigantism. While Cindy works two jobs to cover necessities, Lenny attends school and Davey stays with Mrs. Gaspar, a Hungarian neighbor who has magical dreams. Lenny and David spend hours poring over an encyclopedia set, dreaming of becoming beetle experts and traveling to Canada, respectively. When Davey starts to experience growing pains, the school nurse encourages Cindy to get a second opinion despite the expense. During Davey's testing and treatment for gigantism, the community unites around him. However, much in Lenny's life remains confusing. She struggles with feeling ashamed of Davey and adrift when he and her mother travel for treatments. Lenny secretly tries to uncover family connections that would lead to her father. Eventually, Lenny learns that people are not always what they look or claim to be. Foxlee's latest is a story of learning how to explore the world with limited resources, the grey areas of human morality, the family that one creates, and grief. Although the struggles that the Spink family faces are often practical in nature, Foxlee's writing is infused with a hint of magic, just as the animals and places that Lenny and Davey read about fill their lives with curiosity and joy. VERDICT This is a well-paced story about perceptions versus reality, and although many readers may deduce the story's end early on, the fully-fledged characters and poignant handling of grief make this a general purchase for most collections.—Liz Anderson, DC Public Library - Copyright 2019 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.