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Friday, August 24, 2012

Lulu Walks the Dogs, written by Judith Viorst and illustrated by Lane Smith. Atheneum, Simon & Schuster. 2012. $17.99 ages 6 and up

"Danny, Donnie, Dustin, Dave.
How much money will I save?

Ava, Amy, Ann, Annette.
How much money will I get?

Money! Money! Money!
      Money! Money!

I don't know how I missed Lulu and the Brontosaurus (Simon & Schuster, 2010); but, I did and now I can't wait for my next box from Amazon! To say that we spent hours, when Erin and Bret were young, reading the uproarious and oh, so true! books of Judith Viorst is truly an understatement. It was the same in my classrooms at the time. We read about Alexander, Anthony, and Nicholas...their funny family escapades, their irreverent take on life with siblings and their most interesting relatives. We read the poetry in If I Were in Charge of the World over and over, and then over again! We spent many happy times with those books. Now, she is writing a new series about a feisty, frenetic female who has big demands of and even bigger expectations from those around her.

In her second starring role, Lulu wants something that her parents are not willing to purchase. The only way she is going to get it is to earn the money on her own. Give her a challenge and she is up to it! She decides that a dog walking business is just the ticket...and sets out to find dogs in the neighborhood that could do with exercise and attentive care. Given the fact that she knows virtually nothing about dogs and their habits, the business seems doomed from the outset.

Fleischman knows all about dogs! Fleischman, in fact, knows a great deal about many things. He is neat, always willing to help, loved by everyone because of his exemplary character; Lulu finds him wildly annoying. She wants nothing to do with him. In order to make a success of her business and earn the money that she needs, will she be able to work without him? It's hard to tell.

Short chapters, humorous adventure, strong characters and always enjoyable, hilarious illustrations will appeal to all who read it, and then read it again. Quirky and totally engaging, readers will be singing Lulu's money songs at the tops of their lungs, itching to move on to each new song as the story progresses. Lane Smith has the perfect touch in creating these wonderful characters, human and animal.

I'll leave you with just another short quote from this entertaining read:

"You want a happy ending. Read Cinderella. This story has only sort of a happy ending. Because Fleischman is still too annoying for Lulu to love. And Lulu is still too fierce for Fleischman to love. They respect each other. They count on each other. They're partners and dog-walking buddies. If one of them got tied up, the other would help. But unless they turn into totally different people, I'm pretty sure they won't be New Best Friends."

Oh, PLEASE! Let their be more such wondrous books in our future!

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