Monday, February 11, 2013

Lulu Walks the Dogs

Booklist (June 1, 2012 (Vol. 108, No. 19))

Grades 2-4. Last seen demanding a dinosaur for a pet (Lulu and the Brontosaurus, 2010), my-way-or-the-highway Lulu is determined to raise the money she needs for a certain unnamed purchase. After her parents reject her logical pleading (example: they can save money by skipping the dentist!), she concocts a plan to raise cash as a dog walker. Oh, but there are problems. Each of her canine clients—Brutus, Pookie, and Cordelia—have idiosynchrasies she can’t master. Enter the one person who can help: annoying brainiac goody-goody Fleischman. Will the tortures never end?! The highlights here are Viorst’s constant authorial intrusions as she skips entire topics and chapters (“I really don’t feel like discussing that right now”), offers “Time-out” Q&As for readers’ inevitable questions, and provides the occasional encouragement (“hang in there, please—this sentence is long!”). The sarcastic, biting, self-aware tone never goes too far, and Lane’s exaggerated pencil illustrations make readers feel every bit of Lulu’s frustrations—and joys. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Take Viorst (Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, 1972), add Lane (It’s a Book, 2010), and you’ve got a recipe for serious interest from anyone who knows their kid lit.

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