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Lenny's Book of Everything

Lenny's Book of Everything 1

by Karen Foxlee

Paperback / softback Publication Date: 24/10/2018

5/5 Rating 1 Reviews
RRP  $19.99 $17.25

Our mother had a dark heart feeling. Lenny's younger brother has a rare form of gigantism and while Lenny's fiercely protective, it isn't always easy being the sister of 'the giant'.

A 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.

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 an award-winning author.

'Such a big heart and not a beat out of place.' - Melina Marchetta

'Tough, tender and beautiful.' - Glenda Milllard

'Unforgettable.' - Anna Fienberg

'Karen Foxlee, you're a genius.' - Wendy Orr

General fiction (Children's / Teenage)
Paperback / softback
Publication Date:
Country of origin:
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Karen Foxlee

Karen Foxlee is an Australian author who writes for both kids and grown-ups. Her first novel, The Anatomy of Wings, won numerous awards including the Dobbie Award and the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best First Book.

Ophelia and the Marvellous Boy, Karen’s first novel for children, was published internationally to much acclaim, while her second novel for younger readers, A Most Magical Girl, won the Readings Children’s Fiction Prize in 2017 and was CBCA shortlisted the same year. Karen lives in south-east Queensland with her daughter and several animals, including two wicked parrots who frequently eat parts of her laptop when she isn’t looking.

Her passions are her daughter, writing, daydreaming, baking, running and swimming in the sea.

This item is in stock in our Sydney warehouse and typically delivered to you within 6 working days for most Australian capitals. 

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An overall delivery time for this item to your address is:

NSW Metro: 3 - 6 working days.
NSW Regional: 4 - 7 working days.
VIC & SA Metro: 3 - 6 working days.
VIC & SA Regional: 4 - 7 working days.
QLD Metro: 4 - 7 working days.
QLD Regional: 9 - 16 working days.
TAS: 4 - 7 working days.
WA Metro: 6 - 9 working days.
WA Regional: 7 - 11 working days.
NT Metro: 7 - 10 working days.
NT Regional: 9 - 16 working days.



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Customer Reviews

Average Rating

5 / 5 (1 Ratings)
  • A moving and heart-warming read.

    by on

    “Sometimes I felt like Charlie the Walking Stick insect, completely stuck in the bug catcher of my family.”

    Lenny’s Book of Everything is a book for young readers (10+ but any age will enjoy this) by award-winning Australian author, Karen Foxlee. There are only three people in Lenore (Lenny) Spink’s family now: her mother Cynthia (Cindy); Lenny; and her big little brother David (Davey); her father, Peter Lenard Spink left on a Greyhound bus the day before Davey turned five, and hasn’t come back. It was about then, too, that Davey began to grow, too fast. Nanna Flora lives far way but rings once a month.

    Cindy works hard as a nursing aide to support the family. It’s not easy because Davey grows so fast he always needs new clothes and shoes. She entered (and won!) a competition for a full set of Burrell’s Build-It-At-Home Encyclopedia, so every week, almost like punctuation of their lives, Lenny and Davey look forward to what the next issue will bring. Lenny’s a bit hung up on Beetles; Davey loves the Golden Eagle; one day they will go to the Great Bear Lake together and Davey will build a log cabin.

    When Cindy is at work, Lenny and Davey are looked after by Mrs Gaspar, the Hungarian lady in number 17. Despite his size, everyone at school loves Davey, and of course Lenny does too, although “… I was ashamed of him sometimes. Everyone loved him but I was ashamed of how big he was and how he needed a grown-up chair and how much he leaned and how he was so loud and happy when he talked about tractors. And … the shame of being ashamed was even worse than the shame. The shame of being ashamed made me feel hot and sweaty and wild, like I was growing fur, like I was a werewolf. I was a monster for thinking such things. That’s what it felt like to be ashamed of being ashamed of Davey.”

    Foxlee gives the reader a cast of wonderful characters: some appealing, some a bit nasty, some quirky. Cindy seems fiercely determined to maintain her independence and manage without help, but Davey’s sweetness brings caring folk into their lives just the same. The correspondence between Cindy and Burrell’s Publishing Company graduates from indignant complaint (Cindy) and stiffly officious form letters (Burrell’s), to warmly caring and personal notes.

    She gives her characters many wise words: “Loneliness was like a town. You found yourself there. you didn’t even know how it happened. And there were no buses out. No trains. People had to come in. Like loneliness rescue teams” is just one example.

    In Lenny’s narrative, Foxlee easily captures the mind, the thoughts and feelings, the essence of being a kid in the seventies. Lenny worries: about Cindy’s dark heart feeling; about Davey’s excessive growth; about the reason Peter left; about having a clean pressed hankie for school; about the beetles she’s got hidden in her room; about Davey’s operation; about Mr King (King of Fruit)’s interest in her mom; about her secret Great Aunt Em being alone.

    These are characters that get under the reader’s skin, get into the heart and, despite the sad ending being apparent from the blurb, there will be few readers who don’t find a lump in the throat or tears welling by the last few chapters. The comparison to The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas? This one is much better than that! A moving and heart-warming read.
    This unbiased review is from an uncorrected proof copy provided by Allen&Unwin.