Title: Leaping Lemmings
Author: John Briggs
Illustrator: Nicola Slater
Publisher: Sterling Children’s Books, 2016
Themes: lemmings, following the crowd, individuality
Can you tell two lemmings apart?
That’s because all lemmings look alike, sound alike, and act alike.
Think before you leap! Lemmings look alike, they sound alike, and they act alike. So if one jumps off a cliff, the others will jump right after him . . . except Larry.
Larry’s very independent-minded and he won’t follow his fellow lemmings blindly to their doom. But can he teach them to use their brains and stop making terrible group decisions? John Briggs has created a wonderfully funny, quirky tale about staying true to yourself, while Nicola Slater’s witty illustrations capture all the humor and pathos of Larry’s situation. (Goodreads)
Why I like this book:
This is full of quirk and wit for kids and adults and a hearty yes to being yourself and not following the crowd.. It reinforces both the importance and value of individuality and its solidarity and inspiration for others. Even if you don’t explain to kids beforehand our lemming metaphor, they will totally get the heart of this picture book.
From the interview I did with John on Tuesday, I enjoyed learning of John’s process working with the talented illustrator Nicola Slater, and the way they wove a compelling current issue into the story without losing any of the childlike innocence.
I also have to give a huge shout out to author and illustrator for my favorite spread where the lemmings are trying to persuade the oddball lemming to conform and he asks them to call him Larry. Ultimately this is a celebration of individuality and community! Love!
“What’s a Larry?”
“No lemming has ever been called anything.”
“I hear he wants to be called Mary.”
John and Nicola have managed to achieve a timeless and timely picture book.
Younger children can paint their own unique lemming and find out one fact about lemmings.
Older children can research urban myths!
Check out the interview I did this week with the author, John Briggs.
Each week a group of bloggers reviews picture books we feel would make great educational reads. To help teachers, caregivers and parents, we have included resources and/or activities with each of our reviews. A complete list of the thousands of books we have reviewed can be found sorted alphabetically and by topics, here on Susanna Leonard Hill’s website.