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Published by Pushkin Books

Holy Batman!

Lenny’s mother wins a competition at the beginning of this hugely touching and emotionally charged brilliant volume. She is one of the lucky winners of the Burrell’s Build-it-at-Home Encyclopedia set.

Some of my followers may not know what an Encyclopedia is, or, I should say was. Before the Internet existed you could buy sets of books that contained everything you need to know about everything. A dictionary in a way of everything from the universe, through wildlife, geography, languages, people, sciences, philosophies, religions…everything there was to know was contained in these sets of books. A famous example was the Encyclopaedia Britannica, which was first published (the Internet tells me) in 1768. The last time it was printed (it is now available on the Web), was in 2010 and it was bound in 32 volumes and it would have been printed in a very small font too.

So Lenny’s mother won a set of these and this book is punctuated with letters between her and the General Sales Manager who, as is the way of the world, rather hopes that she can gain some sales out of this situation.

Lenny mean while becomes entranced with beetles…her brother with birds of prey…and birds in general. Every Friday the children run down to get the latest instalment, the latest letter.  The books become point of importance, of reference, if you will, to the family, and particularly for Lenny’s brother who seems to be perpetually growing and doesn’t seem to be able to stop.

This is a wonderful book. It deals very sensitively with the big questions of life and death. It is an emotional volume, but one that shouldn’t be missed. It’s a book that EVERYONE should read.