Fils cadet has a thing about lemurs. It started, fittingly enough, with a book – Jazzy in the Jungle by Lucy Cousins – and has been nurtured with cuddly toys, zoo visits and wildlife DVDs… So when it came to spending his World Book Day token a while ago, and we spotted The Lemur’s Tale by Olivia Redpath (Brubaker, Ford & Friends, 2013), there was only one choice.
A ring-tailed lemur is stowed away on a boat from Madagascar, and eventually ends up in the home of an eccentric but dysfunctional family. His night-time antics cause confusion, as he nibbles on the family’s plants and raids their larder. But he brings great joy once they discover him curled up in a teapot, filling a little girl’s life with hope and happiness.
The little lemur soon became a big hit with the whole family, particularly because of his gloriously long and curly tail. The story starts off rather sadly with the lemur cold and alone, and then with Lara, the daughter of the Laruby family, blamed unfairly for his mischief, but it all comes out all right in the end.
The story is both beautifully told and illustrated with words that are as exuberant as the pictures. Both text and images are packed with comic details that keep fils cadet gurgling with laughter, and he particularly likes knowing how the lemur gets the lid on the teapot at the end. There’s plenty of potential for silly voices for the reading adult too – always an important point.
The author has written about how the story came about on the Templar blog, which is also worth a read.
A pre-existing lemur obsession is not necessary to enjoy this book, but you may find that it sparks one!