Review Blog

Feb 07 2018

Don't leap, Larry by John Briggs

cover image

Ill. by Nicola Slater. Pavilion, 2017. ISBN 9781843653387
Lemmings are small rodents that live in the Arctic regions and are best known popularly known for the misconception that they commit mass suicide by jumping off cliffs, So when one little lemming decides to stand out from the crowd and not do as they do, there is great confusion and consternation.
This little lemming, who wants to be known as Larry, does not want to look like, sound like or act like his peers. When he is asked if he would jump over a cliff, he says, "No, " but fronting up wearing a mask and fins just in case he has to. Instead of digging a tunnel to keep warm, Larry goes sledging with the puffins; while the others squeak and squeal he plays bongos with the seals; and while they nibble moss from under a rock he prefers pepperoni pizza with extra cheese and hot sauce! He is certainly a very different lemming who stands out from the crowd. So when the other lemmings call a meeting and unanimously decide that all lemmings should be the same, Larry knows it is time for him to move on. But he finds life with his other friends a little different from his expectations - sometimes the grass is not always greener. Is there a new and better life for Larry or is he doomed to join them on that inevitable, fatal leap over the cliff?
Humour and appealing illustrations which begin with the front cover with Larry firmly attached to a parachute as he leaps off the cliff make for a quirky tale that nevertheless has a strong message about remaining true to yourself and encouraging others to question, interpret and think for themselves too. A great discussion starter about being individuals even in a culture that has children dressing alike, looking alike and learning alike.
Barbara Braxton

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