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First Mate Lenny

By Elayna Carausu & Sandra Eide

Reviewed by Mia Macrossan

Elayna has spent a lot of her life sailing the ocean waves and this, her debut picture book, reflects her experiences at sea. Sandra is from Nevada and her artwork is created using a mixture of traditional watercolors, colored pencils, and mixed media. Her illustrations are inspired by nature, culture, and the importance of showing all kinds of people in her work.
Lenny’s life is lived at sea. He travels the world with his parents, exploring each new place, reveling in all the new tastes, people, sights and sounds that constantly change. At first he is unsure, he is small and everything is big, but then he grows up to become First Mate, tying knots, finding breezes and checking that his crew is ready to sail. When his baby brother arrives he knows just what to do and he looks forward to new adventures.
Sandra’s illustrations show Lenny’s world in all its variety. The text sometimes waves on the page imitating the movement of the ocean. Unobtrusive labels are scattered through the pages – anchor, dinghy,  – I think most adults reading this to a child would recognise these, but perhaps not the ‘Northern Bahamian Rock Iguanas’.
The message ‘Save Our Planet’ appears on one page while the accompanying text reads ‘ A girl on a mission needs a ride across an ocean’, referring to the author’s motivation for travel.
Children who like boats and sailing will enjoy reading about Lenny and those who know nothing about the sea and the opportunities if offers will learn something new.

Puffin 2023

1942 Amsterdam Ave NY (212) 862-3680

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