Lucas Makes a Comeback by Igor Plohl, illustrated by Urška Stropnik Šonc. Translation by Založba Pivec. Holiday House, 2021. 9780823447664
Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 3
Genre: Picture books
What did you like about the book? The message in this Slovenian import is that with good friends and modest adjustments, a disability does not necessarily mean one cannot have a satisfying life. The story mirrors the experience of the author. Lucas, a lion, is an elementary school teacher, who becomes paralyzed from a fall. His friends raise money for a special car for him so he can come back to teaching. He has to learn how to do things differently once he loses the use of his legs, such as getting out of bed and into his wheelchair, dressing, cooking, and cleaning, along with finding a ground floor apartment. He even resumes sports, and the back matter contains photos of the author doing these things. It’s an upbeat story of triumphing over adversity.
Naive-style art with simple images of smiling animals on a flat background show Lucas going about his life. A biographical section on the back endpapers gives a short synopsis of the author’s life, detailing his accident and accomplishments. This story could serve as inspiration for a child who experiences a disabling accident and who will need to use a wheelchair and relearn life activities.
Anything you didn’t like about it? I think the story would have been more effective if the character of Lucas had been a child. The author could have retained the biographical information at the back.
To whom would you recommend this book? For general use and for families or teachers who want to talk about disability, for ages 4-8.
Who should buy this book? Elementary school and public libraries. An additional purchase.
Where would you shelve it ? Parent collections
Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? No
Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City and State: Stephanie Tournas, Robbins Library, Arlington, MA
Date of review: June 20, 2021