Saturday, December 21, 2013

"Lionel's Grand Adventure: Lionel and The Golden Rule" by Paul R. Hewlett


Lionel's Grand Adventure:
Lionel and The Golden Rule

Lionel’s Grand Adventure: Lionel and the Golden Rule is a beginning chapter book about a twelve year old boy who is constantly subjected to ridicule from his Mom and older brother. Things change when he makes a seemingly innocent discovery. The magical, yet unpredictable, Three-Toed-Potbellied Walbaun foot takes him on the adventure of a lifetime. Explore Lionel’s adventure and discover the wonderful world of the magical Walbaun foot and the lesson that it helps teach Lionel. This book helps children who want to feel better about themselves. It helps them find a role model. Lionel is very comfortable with who he is despite his physical shortcomings and his bullying Mom and older brother.

In the summer of 1967, Lionel and his family moved to the tiny village of Larrystown, Missouri from Penobscott, Massachusetts. He was excited to have his own room rather than having to share it with his big brother Will, or Feeney as everyone called him, with whom Lionel had nothing in common. 
Lionel examined every nook and cranny of his new room. Bending over to inspect the floorboards, he kept pushing his glasses back up He knew he had to be creative to examine the top shelf of the closet since he couldn’t reach that high. Now his exploration felt like an adventure.
Lionel spied an old, cast iron heat register next to the closet. About a foot high, it stuck out from the wall almost a full inch, just enough for him to balance himself on. With some difficulty, he managed to pull his chubby frame onto the edge of the register, holding on to the clothes rod in the closet to keep his balance. Standing on his tippee toes, he took a peek at the shelf.
At first, the shelf appeared to be empty except for the inch of dust on it. A closer examination revealed something bulky lying in the far corner out of his reach. Not to be discouraged, he inched to his left, holding on to the door frame with one hand and reaching as far as his other arm would allow. The treasure still sat a few inches away, but Lionel did not give up. He took a deep breath and jumped off of the register toward the unknown object.
Smacking his head on the door frame, Lionel missed his target, and landed with a thud on the floor. This not only left him with a goose egg on his head, it also caught the attention of his mom.
“Lionel, what in the heck are you doing up there?” Her loud voice attacked his ears. “You better not be wrecking anything or making a mess! If you are, so help me, I'm gonna spank you with the yardstick! Now go have a snack or play with your toys. Do not make me come up there!”
Lionel's head dropped and he felt like a deflated balloon. Closing his eyes, he thought about all the times his mom had criticized him. Then he clenched his teeth, set his jaw, and looked up—more determined than ever to continue his exploring.
He had learned not to let her words stop him—even if they did hurt. He was happy she didn't actually carry out her threat—this time. Having two stories in the house might be good since she didn't like to move around a lot. And her yardstick gave Lionel an idea to rescue the object on his closet shelf. Now he had to get the yardstick without his mom knowing he was up to something.
Lionel hopped up, pulled up his hand-me-down pants, and snuck down the stairs to the pantry. He took a minute to peek into the living room. His mom sat on the sofa, snacking on some chocolates and watching TV. Creeping toward the door, he gripped the handle, held his breath, and turned it. The door opened without the squeak of the pantry door in their old house.
There it is!
Lionel smiled. He grabbed the yardstick, closed the pantry door and hurried back up the stairs.
With the yardstick in his hand, he pulled himself back up on the heat register with a grunt. Careful not to fall, he stretched out for the object. He moved it closer to the edge. Tiny beads of sweat formed on his forehead as his fingers slipped on the doorjamb.
Uh-oh.  Don't fall.  Mom will hear! 
Bingo! The object fell to the ground without a sound. It appeared to be nothing more than an old rabbit's foot, the kind used as good luck charms. Not a bad discovery, since Lionel always needed some good luck to make up for all the things that seemed to go wrong, but it sure wasn't as exciting as he had imagined.
Lionel brushed his hair out of his eyes and took a closer look. The object looked bigger than any rabbit's foot he had ever seen, unless they grew them in some different way in Larrystown.
It had three very long toes, about four inches long, able to bend in either direction, all very unlike a rabbit. Lionel jumped as a loud banging came from the stairway. It had to be Feeney. Lionel stuffed the foot into his pocket as the footsteps reached the top step.
Feeney flung the door open. “Whad'ya doing, you little twerp?”
“Nothing, Feeney, I'm just hanging out in my new room.” Lionel felt his face flush and the fear grew in his stomach.
“Well you better...hey! What are you doing with Ma's yardstick?” asked Feeney, his jaw sticking out like a cash register drawer. Feeney inched closer and towered over Lionel. “I'm gonna tell her unless you...”
Lionel bit his tongue and wished Feeney would vanish and leave him alone. He pictured him exploding like a balloon, little pieces of it drifting slowly to the ground.
A very loud ripping noise filled the room as the seams in the seat of Feeney's pants split. He looked down at the gaping hole and gasped.
Eyes wide, face pale, he shot out of the door without a sound. Lionel stood in stunned silence. Feeney hadn't exploded, but his pants had. The look on his face was priceless, and the hole in the seat of his pants had made him vanish. Lionel smiled.

This is the first of Lionel's Grand Adventures, a series written especially for boys aged 6 to 12. Lionel Snodgrass is a twelve-year-old boy who is "a little chubby and slow", "wears his older brother's hand-me-down clothes", and "wears glasses that always slide down his nose".
When Lionel moves into his new house in a new town, he is dreading starting at his new school. But then he finds the Three-Toed-Potbellied Walbaun foot at the back of the cupboard in his new room. Similar to a lucky rabbit's foot, this magical foot once belonged to the Potbellied Walbaun, a magical creature like a leprechaun. According to legend, the foot can only be seen by those who are persecuted or in need. Well, Lionel is certainly persecuted by his older brother, Feeney, and in need of a helping hand (or foot!).
Unfortunately, the Walbaun was a lazy creature who never quite managed to master his magic. As you can guess, this will lead to Lionel's wishes having some unexpected results. And, of course, there is a lesson to be learned. Read this book to find out what it is.
I look forward to reading Lionel's further adventures. He is a very likeable character, and I think young boys will find it very easy to relate to him.

About the Author
Paul R. Hewlett writes books for children. His first book was Lionel's Grand Adventure: Lionel and the Golden Rule. It is an early chapter book for ages 6 to 12. Released in December 2011, it is the first book in the Lionel's Grand Adventure series. It was followed by Lionel's Christmas Adventure: Lionel Learns the True Meaning of Christmas, was released in November 2012.
Paul is a US Air Force vet who is married and has a "senior" dog named Joe that he and his wife adopted from the local rescue facility. His aim is to increase and foster children's interest in reading by combining entertainment and values. "I promise to continue to try to deliver good, clean, fun, books that maybe, just maybe will teach a lesson along the way," Paul states.