'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Wednesday 11 January 2023

Review: Lionel And Me

This is a glorious, fun and uplifting story containing all of the very best picture-bookish things: gorgeous illustrations, a fabulously relatable story, cute dogs, friendships and family.

Lionel And Me celebrates kindness, friendship and caring through the heartwarming relationship between two real-life dogs – Maverick the golden retriever and Lionel the dachshund.

When Lionel arrives, Maverick is unimpressed.

Is there enough love to go round for the two of them?

Told from Maverick’s point of view, his picture-perfect dog’s life is at first, the epitome of heaven: a family to adore, children to romp and play with, meals at all times of the day and a selection of warm beds to choose from. Everything is going swimmingly for Maverick.

Until Lionel arrives.

Lionel the sausage dog is tiny, cute and needy. Lionel’s tiny little legs mean that Maverick’s exciting and adventurous walks become slow, short and boring. Lionel’s tiny little howls mean that he gets all the attention. And his tiny little food bowl contains much more interesting food than Maverick’s – and yet his tiny little dog deposits that occur inside, manage to stink the whole house out.

Poor Maverick. What is a good dog to do?

This gorgeous book packs a very big punch. Tracie Grimwood’s delightfully engaging and simply beautiful illustrations, bring the story to life in a multitude of clever ways. There’s a dance that happens between words and illustrations, encouraging the reader to pore over both and sit with the wonderful detail. The gradual usurping of Maverick happens quietly in some places and very obviously in others. Throughout, Maverick’s patience and frustration are tested to their limits. He is a joy to watch as the story unfolds. 

At the book’s launch, much-loved author Corrine Fenton shared that for her, the most important theme of this book is caring - for animals, and for each other. This idea is brought to life with an incredibly entertaining and reassuring narrative. The sense of being overlooked for someone more shiny and interesting is completely relatable, and such an important subject for small children to encounter in story form.

This book is an absolute gem.

Title: Lionel And Me
Author: Corinne Fenton
Illustrator: Tracie Grimwood
Publisher: New Frontier $26.99
Publication Date: June 2022
Format: Hardcover
ISBN: 9781922326607
For ages: 3 - 6
Type: Picture Book