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Thursday, February 11, 2016

Lizard from the Park, written and illustrated by Mark Pett. Simon & Schuster, 2015. $22.99 ages 4 and up

"In the morning, Leonard
noticed something.
The egg began to jiggle
and crack. Then a nose
busted through the shell.
It was a lizard! Leonard
watched as the lizard
busted through the rest
of the shell ... "

On a shortcut through the park, while on his way home one day,  Leonard happens upon an egg ... unlike any he has ever seen. Popping it in his backpack, he takes it with him. Leonard spends the rest of his day playing with the egg, and then sleeping with it, too.

Morning brings movement, and a great deal of excitement when he discovers that a lizard has hatched! Immediately naming his new friend Buster, Leonard takes him on a walkabout to all of his favorite city haunts. The two spend all their time together. Time passes, causing Leonard to take note of Buster's ever-changing size.

"Meanwhile, the bigger Buster got,
the more Leonard had to disguise
him so that he would fit it among the
city crowds."

The growing doesn't stop. It takes patience and a good deal of ingenuity to assure Buster's happiness in a more familiar setting.

In this most enjoyable visit to New York City, Mark Pett uses charcoal and digital paints in a muted, gentle palette for the backgrounds while keeping Leonard and Buster the center of our attention. Leonard is a dear and loyal friends who does what is best for Buster. If you were carefully watching, you will not be surprised to see that Leonard soothes his loneliness with someone who knows exactly how he feels.


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