Leonard and his shrew family are moving to a new home in another part of the forest with a long journey ahead of them. Very sensibly, Mrs Shrew asks them to hold on to each other’s tails so they don’t get lost. What could possibly go wrong? Unfortunately, poor Leonard, who does not have the best eyesight and perhaps doesn’t pay as much attention as he could, finds himself in trouble when he accidentally catches the wrong tail! Finding himself separated from his family, he certainly needs to look out as he catches an assortment of different tails in his efforts to be reunited with his family. When his family find themselves in trouble, will Leonard be able to save them?
The illustrations are absolutely gorgeous in a range of bright and bold colours, celebrating the diversity, life and movement of the forest. They also brilliantly capture the personalities of the shrews and other animals.
This is such a wonderful story which is uplifting, joyous and invites its young readers to engage with the text as they look at different ways of saying ‘Hello’, practise counting, answer questions and spot a range of animal tails! It celebrates difference as Leonard is not quite like the other shrews: his name doesn’t begin with ‘S’, he doesn’t say ‘Hello’ in the same way and he wears glasses BUT he is curious and has a sense of adventure and perseveres to prove himself an accidental hero! All the way through the story, the reader is left feeling encouraged that Leonard will be reunited with his family.
The text is easy to follow, chatty and humorous with lots of questions, description, alliteration and repetition which will have young readers wanting to join in, especially with the refrain: Look Out, Leonard! The text is also playful with large, bold text interspersed with the main text.
The final page includes some factual information about the Southeast Asian Shrew. I especially liked discovering that, whilst they have excellent hearing and smell, they have poor eyesight – that explains Leonard!
This is a perfect book for children of 3-5 years who will enjoy both the engaging text and the bright, bold images and I have no doubt will be repeating ‘Look Out, Leonard’ with great glee!
Thank you to Dorling Kindersley for an early copy in exchange for my honest opinion.