A walk in the woods turns into a funny, philosophical and irresistibly charming mini-adventure.
In this witty tale of insistent parents and talking animals, a child questions his purpose. – [X]
The Pointless Leopard: What Good Are Kids Anyway? written by Colas Gutman, illustrated by Delphine Perret, and translated by Stephanie Seegmuller, is one of my favourite things that I’ve ever gotten from a publisher to review.
Leonard, a confirmed young city dweller, has been forced to spend time in the country with his parents. From the very start, Leonard is over the country. He realizes very quickly that:
In the country there’s nothing to do, except: admire. It’s the same as being bored, but with your eyes wide open.
– Page 9, The Pointless Leopard.
His troubles begin when, having been talked into a walk by his parents, Leonard wanders off and comes across a sheep. And, well …
Because I’m polite, I said hello. And because this sheep talked, it replied:
– Page 12, The Pointless Leopard.
Soon, Leonard finds himself surrounded by a sheep, a cow, and a chicken, all of whom wish to know who Leonard is. Specifically, they wish to know what Leonard is, and what purpose “a Leonard” could possibly serve. It’s really such a simple story, and yet it packs such a punch. We see the judgemental sheep, cow, and chicken all trying to push Leonard into a full-blown existential crisis, and we see Leonard navigating this crisis with all the bravery and wisdom of a child.
And yes, the illustrations work perfectly with this story. The minimalistic style of the illustrations match the simplicity of the story, but neither the words nor the illustrations talk down to their audiences (whatever age they might be*), instead they provide clarity and understanding to an issue that is wrought with confusion and anxiety.
I am not really sure if I should reveal (and discuss) the conclusion of this epic and entertaining journey of self-discovery, so I’m not going to. Suffice it to say that it is a rather comforting ending, and the hilarity of juxtaposing the issue of the purpose of one’s existence with discussing philosophy with country animals carries us through what actually could have been a pretty dark tale!
*The Pointless Leopard is a very clever work that I would say is suitable for readers of all ages …