Sunday, March 24, 2013

Lulu reviews

Lulu and the Duck in the Park
by Hilary McKay, illustrated by Priscilla Lamont
Albert Whitman & Co.
March 2011

First line: "Lulu was famous for animals. Her famousness for animals was known throughout the neighborhood."

This delightful series about Lulu, a smart and imaginative little girl growing up in pleasant suburban surroundings is sure to be a hit with young readers looking for early chapter books with just a hint of tongue-in-cheek humor. Lulu loves animals, apples, and jumping off the swings at school. Lulu's teacher Mrs. Holiday isn't so sold on animals. After a field trip to the to the park, and a scary incident with a loose runaway dog, Lulu ends up in possession of a duck egg. She keeps the egg hidden with the help of her best friend Mellie. Of course, the egg hatches once she gets back to school. Happily, the baby duck is soon reunited with its mother.

None of the text ever explicitly identifies Lulu as African-American, but Lamont's illustrations show Lulu and Mellie with a darker complexion than the rest of their classmates. The appealing illustrations which decorate nearly every page and large type make for a comfortable read for readers new to chapter books. The reading level is just a skoche easier than Junie B. Jones and Magic Tree House, but a nice step up from Amelia Bedelia or Jean Van Leeuwen's Amanda Pig series.

Lulu and the Dog From the Sea
by Hilary McKay, illustrated by Priscilla Lamont
Albert Whitman & Co.
March 2013

First line: "Lulu and Mellie were seven years old. They were cousins and they were friends."

Lulu and Mellie aren't just friends, they are best friends. Lulu's love for her menagerie of just about a dozen pets is once again very evident in this story about her family's trip to the ocean. This book isn't just sweet, it's super sweet! Lulu is just as cute and funny as ever in this latest offering in the Lulu series. While Lulu's mother wants to get plenty of reading done during their vacation, and Mellie's big project is to finish a homemade kite, Lulu decides to tackle the challenge of taming a stray dog who has been wreaking havoc at the seaside resort. This book is unique in that large portions of the omniscient third-person narrative describe the thoughts and feelings of the dog from the sea. Large type and a generous amount of black and white illustrations make for a very easy, approachable read. There's a very dramatic ending too, sure to satisfy any dog-lover.

Compare to:
Cinderella Smith - Stephanie Barden
Anna Hibiscus - Atinuke
Clara Lee and the Apple Pie Dream - Jenny Han
The Great Wall of Lucy Wu - Wendy Wan-Long Shang

I received a free copy of these books for review.

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