Lentil by Robert McCloskey. First published by Viking, 1940.
- Reading Level: Picture Books, 4-8
- Maturity Level: 2 (ages 4-8)
Lentil, McCloskey’s first picture book, is now 74 years old. Readers will recognize McCloskey’s familiar style from his more well-known picture books (such as Blueberries for Sal or Make Way for Ducklings). Lentil is a young boy from the town of Alto, Ohio. In his music-loving town, Lentil is an oddity: he can’t sing—he can’t even whistle. Triumph comes when Lentil saves up and buys a harmonica. Suddenly Lentil’s musicality blossoms, and he practices constantly. He loves practicing in the bathtub the best! At the end of the book when the town’s noted citizen, Colonel Carter, returns, it is Lentil who gives a Colonel-worthy welcome on his lowly harmonica. Full of old-fashioned charm, Lentil is a great choice both as a read-aloud and as an independent reading choice for newly independent readers.
Overall Rating: 4 (out of 5)
- Moral/Worldview Value: 4
- Artistic Value: 4
Recommended Use: Entertainment, Read Aloud, Curriculum Tie-in (small town America, 1940s, music)