King Leonard is terribly wasteful. He prefers to throw things away rather than clean or reuse them, so an inevitable pile of discarded things piles up in his garden. But he hits a bit of a problem with this lifestyle when his dearest teddy bear gets broken. His servant suggests that he gets the bear repaired, but where do you go when all the repair stores have been closed down and the toy shop only sells new bears? Leonard has an idea: he’ll use the broken things from his garden to fix his toy. It’s tricky at first to learn the skills required, but it turns out to be rewarding too and Leonard is soon repairing things for others. His new-found enthusiasm ripples outwards and his community is transformed for the better.
This book has a strong environmental message, encouraging children to make a difference by minimising waste. King Leonard is a positive role model: he changes his bad habits for good ones and in doing so shows kindness and persistence.
Children will enjoy spotting all the different ways that the animal characters in the book are helping to protect their town. Phoebe Swan’s lovely lino cut style images are bold and cheerful, the important environmental messages are communicated with skill and care in both the words and images.
The messages we found in this book:
- It is important and rewarding to reuse and recycle things rather than throw them away (but it takes more effort).
- There is a useful double page spread at the end of the book featuring lots of (easily attainable) things that children can do minimise waste, including food.
- King Leonard showed persistence (even though it was difficult at first to repair his toy, he kept on trying).
- He was kind to others, offering to mend their broken things.
- King Leonard cleaned up the mess he had made and shared his new skills with the rest of the community.