Thursday, 22 January 2015

Leroy Ninker Saddles Up: Tales from Deckawoo Drive Volume 1

Leroy Ninker Saddles Up: Tales from Deckawoo Drive Volume 1 by Kate Dicamillo, illustrated by Chris Van Dusen (Walker Books)
HC RRP $19.95
ISBN 9780763663391
Reviewed by Anastasia Gonis

I’m a great fan of Kate Dicamillo’s work and always get excited when I read something new. This title had me laughing and turning the pages quickly it was so clever and moving. The characters are unique, lovable, and highly entertaining. Even the horse! Accolades go to Chris Van Dusen for his brilliant black and white artwork. It adds life and laughter to the story, and enhances the text significantly if that is possible with such clever word arrangements.

Leroy ‘is a small man with a big dream.’ He wants to be a cowboy. He currently lives in an apartment block and works at the Bijou Drive-in theatre where he pours drinks, butters popcorn and smiles. But he needs to own a horse to realize his dream. Opportunity knocks when Beatrice the ticket seller, shows him an ad in the local paper about a horse for sale.

Leroy has chosen the name Tornado for his dream mount. But old and toothless Maybelline is what he finds. Patty, the owner, wants her horse to go to a loving home to live out her remaining years. She lists the things that Leroy must know about his horse to keep her happy and faithful. Leroy accepts her unconditionally and discovers that life looks better from the top of a horse. But he forgets to consider where he is going to keep her.

This is the story of an unlikely friendship that begins with two beings that need love. It is filled with humour and highly emotive. The message that keeps repeating throughout the story is that all living things just need love regardless of their imperfections.

This novel is ideal for 7+ readers who love the challenge of new words and interesting language. Adults will adore this book. Everyone should read it!

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