My Friend Mr. Leakey, Paperback Book
4 out of 5 (1 rating)


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 149 pages, illustrations
  • Publisher: Jane Nissen Books
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: General
  • ISBN: 9781903252192



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A close friend of mine sent this to me for Christmas, and I have to admit, I'd never heard of it before. That's not too much of a surprise. He is more attuned to odd little paperback childhood wonders than I - and I haven't the slightest doubt that's what this is, some little delight he found fading away in the corner of a dusty London bookshop. He's a regular Home for Forgotten Children's Books, that one, and now I wonder if he might not have a pet dragon, too.Mr. Leakey does. Mr. Leakey has a pet dragon, and an at-home jinn, and a beetle to serve his salt, among other things. He acquired an octopus waiter by enchanting a man whose legs "were cut off by a railway train," forcing him to save the man by turning him into an animal with no legs. Mr. Leakey has strange adventures all over the world on his magic carpet, and he throws a party where everyone is turned into whatever they wish, including a fire engine, an elephant, William Shakespeare, and a comet. (A fellow guest is the archangel Raphael, who attests that it is "always a pleasure to come to Mr. Leakey's parties.") The Leakey stories are wonderful, flighty, tongue-in-cheek pieces of fantasy, told in that slightly irreverent British tone that only seems to have existed in literature written between the two world wars. Unfortunately, the book sputters to a finish with three shorter stories that do not feature Mr. Leakey at all, and although they're each charming in their own way, I found myself missing the more outrageous qualities of the Leakey tales. Next time I'll know what to expect and not be disappointed. It's a lovely little book, overall, and one that could definitely afford to be better-known. What child reader wouldn't want a friend whose hat magically provides hot soup?