Saturday 7 March 2015

Lennie the Legend: Solo to Sydney by Pony

Lennie the Legend: Solo to Sydney by Pony by Stephanie Owen Reeder (National Library of Australia)
HC RRP $24.99
ISBN 9780642278654
Reviewed by Anastasia Gonis

Riveting and well-researched, Lennie the Legend: Solo to Sydney is the fictionalized version of a true story for the 7+ age group. It is a great adventure; a story of courage, resilience and dreams come true. It presents a view of the unbreakable bond between Man and horse, and the challenging times brought on by the Great Depression. The story alternates with factual pages of authentic history, stunning original coloured and black and white photos from the NLA’s rich collection, plus maps and posters.  These all tie in together beautifully to form a whole.

Nine year-old Lennie wants to go to the opening of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. It’s a hard ask as he’s a bush boy who lives in Leongatha in Victoria. His father, Captain Gwyther, a decorated war hero has broken his leg and Lennie must step up and fill his place, and finish the ploughing of their farm acres.

As a reward for his commitment to the family, his father gives permission for him to ride his horse Ginger Mick, to Sydney for the opening of the Bridge.

Lennie’s story is inspiring. We travel with him from town to town, through the bush and bushfires, past swagmen looking for work, through a flooding Princes Highway and onwards against odds. Then there are other dangers – snakes, horse thieves and various unseen threats. Every scene gives a strong sense of place. The visual descriptions of the natural world and Lennie’s surroundings put us right into every event.

Carrying letters of introduction and depending on the kindness of strangers, Lennie and the gallant Ginger Mick are on the greatest adventure of their life.

He meets the Prime Minister, visits Parliament House and Canberra Grammar School. Everywhere he goes, people know him because the newspapers have been following his inspiring journey.

The book has included an excellent Glossary, Acknowledgements to the primary and secondary sources, and the usual outstanding detailed list of illustrations with references for further research.

This is one of the best NLA books I have read although each one has been of the highest standard in every area. Stephanie Owen Reeder’s excellent narrative skills and insightful prose breathed life into this amazing story.

1 comment:

  1. I prefer giving children books that are educational as compared to a pure fantasy based genre. I used to own quite a handful of children’s books up in my self storage which have been donated to my friends’ children so that they can benefit from the inspiring stories.


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