Lenny’s Book of Everything


Lenny’s Book of Everything‘ is Burrell’s Build-it-at-Home Encyclopaedia. Mother signs up for free instalments, delivered to the apartment monthly. Lenny and younger brother Davey linger over each new arrival. They talk about what they’ve read at night, planning futures around birds they will see, beetles they will discover, countries to which they will escape.

Meanwhile, it’s a life of uncertainty. Mother works two jobs, the children are cared for by Mrs Gaspar, handkerchiefs are ironed just right, and Lenny tells Nanny Flora only what she wants to hear on the telephone.

Nanny Flora does not really grasp what is going on in the apartment. The overriding concern is Davey. Davey is growing at an alarming rate. Lenny’s little brother breaks his shoes, and needs to have his clothes altered by a tailor. He’s supposed to take after Mother’s Swedish side. It’s a comfort amid the confusion. Nobody really knows about Peter Lenard Spink, their father. ‘Peter Lenard Spink,’ Lenny obsesses. Where did her father go, the last time he left the apartment?

Can ‘Lenny’s Book of Everything’ offer the clues about Davey’s growing, their father’s destination, amongst clues on how to be? Lenny hopes so.

‘Lenny’s Book of Everything‘ is an inspirational, glorious, heart-breaking and magnificent story. I feel richer for having read it. I urge you to do the same.


Lenny’s Book of Everything

Karen Foxlee

(Pushkin Children’s)

Peter Lenard Spink, Peter Lenard Spink… At night Lenny repeats their father’s name to Davey. They must not forget. Mother does not answer their questions. Can ‘Lenny’s Book of Everything’?
Lenny and Davey linger over the latest edition of ‘Burrell’s Build-it-at-Home Encyclopaedia‘. Birds, fascinate Davey, while Lenny dreams of beetles and a future as a coleopterist. Davey’s future? Davey’s future is concerned with his height, for Lenny’s little brother grows and grows. Could the encyclopaedia hold the answer to this problem? Peter Lenard Spink? Mama? Mrs Gaspar? Davey? Alaska?
What clues for living are held in ‘Lenny’s Book of Everything’?


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