Lucy in the Leap Year

Illustrated by Ken Searle

Omnibus 1993

The world of eight-year-old Lucy follows the familiar pattern of life in the tiny inner-city apartment where she and her dad live.  One day, however, everything changes, and suddenly Lucy finds herself growing up in leaps and bounds.

As the weeks and months of this special Leap Year go by, Lucy finds out about friendship and families, about loneliness and loss, about the stars and the seasons, and about the very special people who share her house.  As Lucy learns how everyone and everything fits into the universe, Lucy’s world becomes bigger, and so does Lucy herself. 



Selected Reviews

In a field where many books tell readers that ‘freedom’ comes simply through knowing/accepting their own selves, Wheatley pushes beyond the self to a knowledge of how they fit into society — and in the case of Lucy, the universe. The tininess of self amongst the vastness of the universe could be a too-big-for-comfort area, but ultimately for Lucy there is safety in the ‘big picture’, a knowledge that even on the darkest night the sun is shining elsewhere... Lucy in the Leap Year does children the service of taking their fears, interests and outlook seriously in an accessible and enjoyable story.
— Nicola Robinson, Australian Women’s Book Review
This warm, optimistic story includes characters from a range of class and ethnic backgrounds, and has one of the most likeable dads in children’s literature.
— Margaret Aitken, The Age
Lucy in the Leap Year is a gentle book. Its events are uncontrived, its background is peopled by characters from unobtrusively assorted cultures, and it is subtly enlivened by Ken Searle’s illustrations, some of which are unusually innovative and perceptive. We see the story unfold through Lucy’s eyes, shaped by a combination of anxious hesitancy and confidant dogmatism, which seems about right for her age and situation.
— Stephen Matthews, Australian Book Review
Lucy learns to think beyond the here and now, developing empathy as she comes to understand that kindly neighbours can be a kind of family. The last two chapters of this beautifully realised children’s novel are more loaded with images of happy fulfilment than just about any I can remember.
— Don Pemberton, Magpies

Selected Reviews       

Honour Book, CBCA Book of the Year for Younger Readers, 1994

Shortlisted NSW Ministry for the Arts Award, 1994

Shortlisted Multicultural Award, 1994