Leo and the Lesser Lion

Sandra Forrester, Author . Knopf $16.99 (298p) ISBN 978-0-375-85616-7

In the midst of the Great Depression, headstrong 12-year-old Mary Bayliss Pettigrew lives a somewhat lonely life in Lenore, Ala. Her touchstone is her fun-loving brother Leo, until he drowns in Sweet Springs Lake. Tormented by the question of why she survived (“What sense did it make to love a cat—or a person—when God could just snatch them away from you at any moment?”), Bayliss searches for her “special purpose” in order to bring Leo’s spirit back. Sensitive and hardworking, she slowly develops the strength to incorporate the pain of the past with the joy of the present. She’s set her mind on becoming a nun when her parents decide to take in two orphans. At first Bayliss resents these “weary travelers,” but despite the family’s temporary poverty, she learns to love again. Forrester’s (the Beatrice Bailey series) tale is replete with period charm and solid dialogue, and carries a clear message of selflessness: “When you put somebody else’s needs ahead of your own, you just might end up getting something you need in return.” Ages 8–12. (Aug.)

Reviewed on: 08/10/2009
Release date: 08/01/2009
Genre: Children's
Paperback - 297 pages - 978-0-375-84749-3
Library Binding - 298 pages - 978-0-375-95616-4
Open Ebook - 1 pages - 978-0-375-85366-1
Prebound-Sewn - 297 pages - 978-1-61383-013-0
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