Leaping Lemmings – Perfect Picture Book Friday

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28692023Title: Leaping Lemmings

Author: John Briggs

Illustrator: Nicola Slater

 Publisher: Sterling Children’s Books, 2016

Ages: 5-8

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.


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15 Responses to Leaping Lemmings – Perfect Picture Book Friday

  1. This sounds like a really cute book, and I love that it is about being unique. Yay for Larry – or Mary.

  2. What a perfect book choice and a great example to kids to strive to be themselves. Too bad the library isn’t open this early. I’m looking forward to reading this book.

  3. Sounds hilarious. Definitely want to read this with my kiddos. Thanks.

  4. After reading your wonderful interview with John Briggs this week, I was really looking forward to your review. This book looks like a winner with its emphasis on individuality and following the crowd. Good book to read to kids at a young age and continue to use for years to come. So many good ideas.

  5. Great review! This sounds like a fun one with a great message!

  6. Wendy Greenley says:

    Thanks for sharing this one. Sounds like Larry/Mary is one smart lemming!

  7. Andrea Mack says:

    I love quirky books! The cover has so much personality!

  8. This is a fun book! My copy is on my desk waiting for its turn to be reviewed. The lemmings are sneaking off the pages and jumping off the edge, right into the wastebasket – except for Larry.

  9. Sue says:

    I love th is review. Why? Because I am always, it seems, the last to comment because I get busy and forget until Sunday. Now I will just call this my own lemming comment–being myself. Leaping Lemmings sound terrific.

  10. Erik - TKRB says:

    I like lemmings, so I like the idea of this book! I’ll see if my library has it! 😀

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