I have to admit that two main reasons got me excited to review “Lena of Vegitopia and the Mystery of the Missing Animals” by Sybil Severin and launched by Vegan Publishers: it is a vegan book for children and it is illustrated by Carlos Patino (“Dave Loves Chickens”).
Inspired by “Ruby Roth’s wonderful books” (check an interview with the author here), “Lena of Vegitopia and the Mystery of the Missing Animals” is a is a vegan-themed fairy tale. Do I love fairy tales? No, I don’t despite the fact that like many other girls around the world I know all the classics. Would I read fairy tales to my daughter if I had one instead of a little boy who loves cars and planes? I will never no but I think I would try to focus in other stories and characters.
But we are not talking about a classic here and, to be honest, we still live in a world where in other planets (like in Dave’s planet) or in a fairy-tale, humans do not consume animals and I will embrace any chance I have to show my kid that we shouldn’t use non-human animals for any reason and that they deserve our compassion and respect.
The book is about the brave girl Lena, from Vegitopia, a land where humans and animals live in peace together and nobody eats animals. When facing the big issue of missing baby animals, Lena will ask the help of Princes Vegi to solve the mystery and bring the animals back.
The “evil” character of the book is a woman named Carnista, who hates vegetables and can’t accept the fact that animals are not in this world to be eaten. The way Lena convinces Carnista that vegetables are not bad is a way we find ourselves sometimes when talking to non-vegans: giving them delicious food to try!
Once again, Patino’s illustrations,with simple lines and colorful drawings are very attractive to kids. And he brings a very unique – spunky – look to what would be classic characters in fairy-tales: the good, the bad, the princess.
The book promotes messages of kindness and I really liked the fact that there are not explicit actions of violence against the animals, I don’t think our children need to be exposed to images like these. It is all about respect and compassion.
There are just one aspect of the book that I didn’t love: it is a long story (too much for my 2 and a half years old boy). But I’m sure he’ll be able to listen to the whole story in the future!