Review of Leeva at Last

Leeva at Last Leeva at Last
by Sara Pennypacker; illus. by Matthew Cordell
Intermediate    Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins    320 pp.
3/23    9780063114425    $19.99
e-book ed.  9780063114449    $11.99

Lonely, neglected Leeva Thornblossom’s greedy parents believe her job is to make them rich and famous. Since this hasn’t happened yet, they require Leeva to follow her Employee Manual and perform such duties as washing dishes and cooking the books for the town of Nutsmore, where her mother is mayor and her father is treasurer. Versatile author Pennypacker (Clementine, rev. 1/07; Pax, rev. 3/16) has written a book that is by turns outrageous and wise, funny and touching, fantastical and true; Cordell’s sketches contribute to the levity. Although forbidden to leave the Thornblossoms’ property, Leeva begins her exploration of the outside world by sneaking to the library next door, where she befriends the kind librarian, Pauline Flowers, and her nephew. Under Mrs. Flowers’s direction, Leeva begins reading books to answer her question, “What are people for?” Leeva’s social circle and her understanding of the world expand exponentially, and eventually she and her new friends (and a badger) play a role in ridding the town of the adult Thornblossoms and returning all the money they stole. By story’s end, Leeva knows exactly what people are for: “Everything that happens is better when someone else shares it with you.”

Pubissue-From the May/June 2023 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Maeve Visser Knoth

Maeve Visser Knoth is a librarian at Phillips Brooks School, Menlo Park, ­California. She has chaired the Notable Children’s Books Committee and taught at Notre Dame de Namur University and Lesley University.

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