Review Blog

Jun 04 2019

Lento and Fox: My book (not yours) by Ben Sanders

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Lothian Children's Books, 2019. ISBN: 9780734419040.
(Age: 4+) Highly recommended. Themes: Rivalry, Sloths, Foxes, Humour. Sanders cleverly uses the attributes of a sloth and a fox to describe his characters in this very funny book, the first in a series. Lento the sloth introduces us to his book, but in doing so wears himself out and he gradually lies down to a well deserved rest. But cunning Fox seizes his opportunity to take over the authorship of the book with his noise and arguing. From then on the pair argues over just whose book it really is, Lento arguing that Fox should be following a script and what he says simply is off script. But counters Fox, he does not need a script and proceeds to show off his circus skills. Lento keeps up with him, but when Fox goes off in a hot air balloon, Lento flies through the page causing the balloon to rip apart. A scene from a wild west shootout follows until Lento paints a black hole on the page into which Fox falls. It should be the end of Fox, but no he returns with a clever last line, designed to undermine the sloth further.
The rivalry is ridiculously funny, using every trick both can conjure to outwit the other. I love the way Sanders plays with the audience, using their understanding of the characters' place on the page, that they are just drawings, talking directly to the audience, and involving them in their dispute. Young readers will get quite a kick out of these two characters, mimicking the petty arguments they have with their friends, showing the rivalry being on both sides and eventually coming to a conclusion where no one wins because the book is at an end.
Wonderful illustrations show the two animals, Lento with his banded face, Fox with a large bushy tail. I love the use of blocks of colour and the way Sanders is able to describe a character's mind set through a change in the way the eyes look, and the mouth is set.
A wonderfully funny read, even the back and front covers cry out for a laugh, I am looking forward to the next in the series from Ballarat based Sanders.
Fran Knight

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