Lenny & Lucy is Philip and Erin Stead’s third collaboration. The other picture books they created are A Sick Day for Amos McGee and Bear Has a Story to Tell. Published by Roaring Brook Press, Lenny & Lucy is a story about loneliness. The book follows a boy named Peter and his dog, Harold.
After miles of driving to reach their new house, Peter and Harold face an uncertain future. Peter doesn’t think they should be there, despite his father’s assurances. On the first night, Peter and Harold can’t sleep because they know the woods are home to terrible things.
The next day, Peter creates a protector to watch over the bridge that separates his home from the woods. He names this guardian Lenny.
Lenny & Lucy is an atmospheric story with a mature theme. The book blends emotional storytelling with a youthful perspective to create a unique adventure.
The story feels like the last chapter in a longer journey. Philip doesn’t tell the reader why Peter’s father moves them into a new house. From his body language, it’s clear his father is trying to make the best of a difficult time.
This picture book isn’t scared of exploring dark themes. Peter is lonely and afraid. His father is struggling with a new situation. The weight at the beginning of the story makes the final payoff that much more satisfying.
And all the while, even after the lights were out, the dark woods stayed on the other side of the bridge…where they belonged.
Erin’s illustrations are beautiful. She creates a haunting atmosphere that threatens to surround Peter and Harold. Her art is an extension of the feelings of isolation the characters are experiencing. From the deep woods to the open spaces, the environment envelops the reader in its vastness.
The inspired character designs are wonderful, particularly Lenny and Lucy. With each page, Erin breathes life into the guardians. From their lumbering movements to their towering stature, they are charming creations.
In Lenny & Lucy, Philip has written a powerful story about loneliness and friendship. He doesn’t hold anything back from his audience, giving them an unforgettable adventure. Erin’s illustrations strengthen the story’s complex themes. If you’re looking for a book that teaches your children important lessons, this is a great choice.
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