Saturday, May 20, 2023

Leeva at Last, by Sara Pennypacker (ill by Matthew Cordell)

Leeva's mother only cares about fame.  Her father only cares about money.  Neither of them cares anything about her.  When Leeva finds out that the town has a school and gets excited about attending, her parents laugh off the idea.  School?  What an absurdity!  What good could school ever do for you?  But Leeva is curious and when her curiosity leads her to sneak out of the house (violating the "Employee Handbook" her parents have created for her) she discovers a whole world out there.  It's a world full of books, homemade cookies, an orphaned badger, and a hypochondriac boy in a hazmat suit.  Most of all, it is full of human beings making connections.

In an absurd style that will remind readers of Roald Dahl or David Walliams, Pennypacker deftly explores a variety of topics including friendship, family, and creativity.  It's a story that cannot be taken seriously and younger readers who can't recognize the satirical elements may find it confusing.  I personally found the abusive nature of the humor disturbing.  But if you delight in books that are so cruel that it is "obvious" that they are not to be taken seriously, this can be a silly read.

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