Wake Up Lionel
Little Steps, 2023
32pp., pbk., RRP $A16.95
When Lionel goes to stay at his grandmother’s farm, his mother warns him that there will be strange night noises that he won’t have heard in the city. But the country air must have an amazing effect because when Lionel sleep-walks around the farm, none of the animals can wake him even though they all try with their loudest noise. Even following him back to his bed and sharing it with him doesn’t disturb his slumber.
Written in rhyme, this is a story that could introduce young readers to the animals they are likely to see on the farm and they can have fun mimicking the various noises, perhaps even learning the traditional song about Old MacDonald. They might also like to compare and contrast the sounds that Lionel might have heard at home by taking time to listen to the sounds of night falling where they live and what Lionel hears, thus learning to involve all their senses when they are reading. Guiding them to think about what they might see, hear, feel and smell in a particular setting helps them to orient themselves and make plausible suggestions for unknown words based on content and context rather than sounds.
So even though the animals were unable to wake up Lionel, perhaps they can spark some genuine learning in this seemingly simple tale.