BOOK CLUB IDEAS
Pennypacker, Sara. Leeva at Last. Illus. by Matthew Cordell. Balzer + Bray, 2023.
Fans of Roald Dahl are sure to enjoy Leeva at Last by Sara Pennypacker, a humorous, satiric story about a resourceful young girl. Her ridiculously incompetent parents are similar to those in Dahl’s Matilda, forcing Leeva to do chores and to never leave the house. One day, she sneaks out while they are at work and visits the library next door, and her entire life changes.
Leeva’s mother is the town mayor, and father is the town treasurer, so this becomes a spoof of politics. Children in 5th and 6th grade will grasp the parallels to politicians they might see on the news! This is also a fun celebration of libraries and all they offer to people.
A helpful study guide is available from the publisher: TG-9780063114425.pdf (rackcdn.com).
- Leeva sneaks out and visits the library for the first time. What does she discover about the library? What are your favorite things about the library?
- She befriends a boy named Osmund who wears a hazmat suit because he is afraid of everything. What do you think makes him so fearful and cautious?
- Leeva befriends a girl named Fern, who is busy at home taking care of her great-grandparents and siblings. What do you do at home to help out?
- Mrs. Flowers the librarian bakes fresh cookies every day. What type of cookies are your favorites?
- What do you think of Leeva’s parents? Was she right in exposing their theft of city funds?
- For refreshments, enjoy unusual cookies that the kids probably haven’t tried before.
- Make no-bake cookies in honor of Mrs. Flowers hobby. Try these Fudgies: 3-Minute No-Bake Cookies Recipe | Quaker Oats. All you need is a microwave or a stovetop (I used a microwave). The recipe contains peanut butter, so double check no one is allergic before making these.
- Bob the badger is a main part of the story. Make these badger paperbag puppets: Simple and Cute Paper Bag Badger Craft For Kids (artsycraftsymom.com).
- This novel is a great celebration of libraries. The group can make special bookmarks: 12 Fun & Easy Homemade Bookmarks That Kids Can Make (mykidstime.com).
- Assistant librarian Harry and Fern are both in the local community theatre. Have the book group perform some simple reader’s theater by Aaron Shepard: Reader’s Theater Editions (Readers Theatre Pieces, Free Scripts, Short Children’s Plays) (aaronshep.com).
Penny Peck, SJSU iSchool