cover image Lenny and Lucy

Lenny and Lucy

Philip C. Stead, illus. by Erin E. Stead. Roaring Brook/Porter, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-59643-932-0

Peter’s new house is surrounded by dark woods, and he spends a long night worrying about what’s out there. The next morning he gets to work, making a guardian out of blankets and cushions. Peter names his lumpy guardian Lenny and seats him at the house’s wooden bridge, where he can keep the woods “on the other side where they belong.” Concerned that Lenny might be lonely, he makes him a companion, Lucy. Readers watch as Lenny and Lucy take on life in Peter’s mind, becoming the slow-moving, benevolent grandparents that he needs. (Peter’s father is perfectly nice, but preoccupied.) When a brown-skinned girl named Millie appears—she has a plaid skirt, binoculars, and a better attitude toward the woods—Lenny tips his hat and Lucy glows; it’s clear that things are looking up. Erin Stead uses faded grays for the alien forest and warm, quiet color for the story’s living souls. What stands out is the Steads’ (Bear Has a Story to Tell) ability to evoke the wordless intimacy and companionship that every child needs—and will make for themselves, if necessary. Ages 3–7. Agent: Emily van Beek, Folio Literary Management. (Oct.)