Hilary McKay has a great new early chapter book series out.
Lulu and the Duck in the Park
Lulu is known for animals. The rule in Lulu's house is "The more the merrier, as long as Lulu cleans up after them!"
Every week, Lulu's class goes to the local pool for swimming and walks back to school through the park, where they take a small break. The kids love their time at the park, sitting by the pond. Lulu especially loves the area known as "duck row" where many ducks have made their nests under the bushes. This week, two dogs get loose and scare all the ducks. In the process, many of the nests and their eggs get smashed. Lulu notices one egg left unbroken, rolling away, so she scoops it up and takes it back to school.
Mrs. XXX has just instituted a rule saying that the kids aren't allowed animals in class, so Lulu has to keep the egg hidden, and safe, and warm, but what will she do when it starts to hatch?
Lulu: Lulu and the Dog from the Sea
When Lulu and her family go on vacation, she sees a dog that seems to come from the sea. Everyone know town knows about the dog from the sea-- he's the reason you have to take your trash can inside the house at night. Stealing hot dogs from the hot dog stand an understandable thing for a dog to do. Stealing (and eating!) a shovel (the most expensive, nicest shovel) from the postcard stand? That dog is a nuisance!, but the dog catchers can't get him.
Lulu wants to get to know the dog from the sea, so she breaks all the rules to lure him closer, to get to know him. I mean, the more the merrier, right? But another hamster or rabbit is one thing-- can Lulu really handle another dog?
I was a little apprehensive of this series-- I love McKay's Casson family books, so there were high expectations going into this-- could she maintain the same level of awesome for an early chapter book?
I love Lulu's relationship with her cousin Mellie, especially because they don't always enjoy the same things or understand each other. I like how there's more to Lulu than animals (such as jumping off the swings at the highest point possible) but everyone remembers the animals.
As an adult reader, I love the adults. They're done with enough comic timing to make kids laugh, but adult readers will understand where the book adults are coming from and with sympathize. It's also the little touches-- Lulu's mom brings a book for every day of their vacation, plus War and Peace, just in case.
I loved a scene in the first book when Lulu's teacher tries to read the kids Harry Potter but they keep interrupting to tell her that that's not right, because that's not how the movie was, and that she was doing the voices wrong. McKay has an excellent touch for the small details of life.
This is an excellent series, up there with Clementine.
Come back tomorrow, where I'll actually be interviewing Ms. McKay! Squee! So exciting! Also, a giveaway!
Books Provided by... the publisher for blog review and book tour stop.
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