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Reviewed by Hilary Hawkes for Readers' Favorite
Lithium Luke and his Gal Pal Peanut by Kathryn Berla is the story of what happens when ordinary Luke announces his ordinariness to the rest of the world – when everyone else has some super special ability. Luke becomes a bit of a star due to being different, but then decides he wants to be special too, by becoming a horse. But he needs the knowledge of a horse with sense, and sets off on a long, fantastical, and astonishingly bemusing journey with his friends: Peanut, her pink snail, Horse (one without sense), and his dog Kooldez. The friends have to contend with the accompanying band of Jumping Jerries and avoid being sucked into the atmosphere by the Beelzebugs. They travel by land, sea, and across desert, meeting various unique characters as they go. Will Lithium Luke reach the Kingdom, find the answers he needs, and all without the last of his batteries running out?
Lithium Luke is a quirky, offbeat and extraordinarily funny and imaginative tale that has a vibe all of its own, but which will probably remind the reader of Alice in Wonderland type happenings. The plot unfolds intriguingly, moving along at a good pace with surprises and twists as it goes. I love the way the narrator (the story is told in third person) occasionally breaks off to address a child to whom he is telling this bedtime story. I laughed all the way through this unique and entertaining nonsensical story, which somehow makes perfect sense after all. Luke’s world and the characters in it have much to teach children too: about accepting differences, being yourself, loyalty in friendship, and courage. Kathryn Berla has created a refreshingly different type of story that both entertains young readers and also inspires the imagination with an underlying thoughtful theme. Readers who love imaginative, quirky fantasy will find much to enjoy in this fun story – perfect for story time and for young readers around middle grade age.