The Definitive Guide to

The Society of Distinguished Lemmings

Written and illustrated by Julie Colombet
- Bookroo Rating
Goodreads Rating - 4.2 / 5.0
List Price
Target Age
Book Type

What Does Bookroo Think of This Book

“Chattering lemmings spin a shallow tale of friendship with a bear.”

The lemmings are a distinguished group with particular rules that must be followed. With all of their events and activities, Bertie just needs a bit of peace and quiet . . . so he climbs up to go outside, where he comes face to face with a bear. The two become instant friends as Bertie realizes he enjoys Bear’s favorite activities (which happen to break Lemming rules). But when all of the lemmings spill out of the ground, they don’t think bear is quite up to snuff and decide to take a vacation. Meanwhile, Bertie and Bear are reading A Short History of Lemmings, which states that lemmings, when migrating, sometimes try and swim too far and drown. Bear and Bertie race to the water and save the lemming crew just in time, earning Bear a spot in their distinguished society and displaying the lesson that you don’t have to be the same to have worth. The illustrations show each hair on the animals and their beady eyes, capturing an eccentric feel to match the clever, yet excessive captions of the chattery lemmings. The storyline, though full of potential and style, feels pedantic and long, ultimately lacking development and depth in Bertie and Bear’s instantaneous friendship.

What's This Book About

Publisher Summary

In a society of lemmings, can a bear ever belong?

The Society of Distinguished Lemmings aims to be distinguished in abosultely everything. It takes an awful lot of rules to be so distinguished, including: no rolling around, no climbing about, and certainly no splashing in the mud! But Bertie has had quite enough of the society and all its rules. After venturing outside, Bertie discovers a bear, who is very unlike a lemming. With the bear’s help, Bertie learns that prancing about in the wild is quite a lot of fun! But when the other lemmings find out about the bear, they decide everything about him will have to change if he’s ever to fit in. Will the Society ever accept Bertie’s new friend, or is the bear simply too big and clumsy of a creature to be distinguished?

This hilarious tale features valuable themes of finding new friends, challenging peers, and questioning the rules. Readers will return to the story again and again to discover the quirks of every distinguished lemming while also learning about the importance of staying true to yourself amidst pressure to conform.

What Kind of Book is The Society of Distinguished Lemmings

Quotes from This Book

  • "It's not how things are done in the Society of Distinguished Lemmings (in fact it breaks several rules), but it's nice to have a friend who's a little bit different."
  • "And now they know that anyone can be distinguished, in any way they choose."

What Questions Should I Ask My Child

  • Bertie had to go outside when he was feeling overwhelmed and surrounded by noise. What do you do to feel better when you feel overwhelmed? Does going outside like Bertie help you calm down?

  • The lemmings have a lot of little comments to say about everything going on around them. As you read through their speech bubbles, did you find any comments that were particularly clever or funny? What would your reaction be if you were a lemming who came outside to find a bear?

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Book Lists That Include The Society of Distinguished Lemmings

Book Lists › friendship
Favorite Children's Books About Friendship
Book Lists › community
Children's Books About Community
Book Lists › rules
Children's Books About Rules
Book Lists › belonging
Children's Books About Belonging
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Who Wrote The Society of Distinguished Lemmings

author & illustrator
Julie Colombet

Julie Colombet began drawing and painting at an early age. She studied at Chaumont, France, where she discovered children’s illustrations-a universe and language that fascinated her. She has a great affection for creating characters and is the author of a number of French children’s books.

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What Has Julie Colombet Said About This Book

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Julie Colombet's Book Dedication

To Simon

What Do Critics Say About This Book

  • Kirkus Reviews

    “It’s a relief to find a story about lemmings with a happy ending . . . Many pages are nearly filled with lemming word balloons, as in a comic book . . . Even the most rule-bound reader will be cheered up by these stodgy lemmings.”

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Book Details

ISBN 10:
ISBN 13:
Publication Date:
March 1, 2020
Illustration Details:
The illustrations were rendered in pencil and colored digitally.