Posted by Venus on Wednesday, November 18, 2015
Labels: picture book review
Illustrations by Erin E. Stead
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
Release Date: October 6, 2015
Peter and his father are moving to a new house that is within a dark and unfriendly wood. Peter does not want to be there and not even his dog Harold is helping. Scared of the things that may be hiding in the woods, Peter makes a tall pule of pillows. He stitches and sews, pushes and pulls, and when he is done he has created Lenny, Guardian of the Bridge, to protect him and Harold. Lenny is a great guard, but Peter worries that Lenny is lonely and so he makes Lenny a friend, Lucy.
Philip Stead's books are always a hit or miss for me and I think with this book, my adult sensibilities were getting too much in the way. All I kept thinking was, where is this kid getting all those pillows? Why is his dad letting him put that stuff out there? All of those blankets and pillows are going to get dirty and moldy.
The illustrations were lovely as Erin E. Stead always delivers in that respect, but I just couldn't get into the story. I understand that this is supposed to be a story about loneliness, fear, and friendship, but there just wasn't enough to it. What is Peter afraid of? The dark woods? Leaving home? A new place? Why isn't Henry enough company? And let's add to all of this, two giant creepy-looking pillow people who may or may not be alive. Shudder. Then we add Peter's new friend who appears so suddenly that she feels like an afterthought. There is so much that could happen in this book and yet nothing does.