Nine-year-old Lennie is awestruck by that engineering marvel, the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Life is harsh during the great depression, especially for a family working a small farm.
This beautiful book tells the true story of Lennie’s courage and determination to bring his dream to see the opening of the bridge come true.
His father, impressed by the hard work and responsibility Lennie showed by running the farm during a period when he was unable to, gave him permission to embark on an adventure without adult support.
So Lennie set off in early February, 1932 from Leongatha on Victoria’s South East coast, to ride solo with his faithful pony, Ginger Mick, through Victoria’s high country to Sydney: a journey of a thousand kilometres!
Let me repeat - he was nine at the time.
Despite the bushfires that killed many people in the Gippsland area in February of that year, Lennie persisted. His courage was an inspiration during those bleak days, and a legend was born.
Andrew McLean’s watercolours bring the landscape to life. The illustrations depict Lennie’s home and farm, the forests of the Snowy Mountains, the vast wheat fields and the streetscapes of 1930’s Sydney in full, lush colour. I especially liked the detail of sheep grazing in the foreground of Parliament house when Canberra was still a country town!
Overall, this book is an impressive tribute to resilience and persistence. I understand that a statue of Lennie and Ginger Mick was erected in Leongatha, and I can understand why. Nearly ninety years later, this story is still as fresh and inspirational as it was when Lennie reached his goal.
Title: To the Bridge: The Journey of Lennie and Ginger Mick
Author: Corinne Fenton
Illustrator: Andrew McLean
Publisher: Walker Books, $26.99
Publication Date: 1 April 2020
For ages: 5+
Type: Picture Book