Friday, March 23, 2018

Lulu and the duck in the park by Hilary McKay, illustrated by Priscilla Lamont

[This review has been updated]

Long ago, I reviewed two of the Lulu books for Cybils, but never read the first book. In 2015 I was selecting titles for my new book club and was looking for books that would meet the kids' interests as well as feature more diverse characters and this popped into my head immediately.

In Lulu's first story, we learn that she is known all around town for her love of animals. But her animals get her into trouble because her teacher most definitely does not like animals. When Lulu tries to show her how amazing animals are, she almost loses her class their treasured guinea pig! Now her cousin and best friend AND the whole class is mad at her! But there's no time to think about that, because the class is going on their weekly walk through the park and there are ducks to see...but then tragedy strikes. Lulu manages to rescue an egg, but what will happen when it's not an egg anymore? Will her teacher really take their guinea pig away if she discovers it?

Lamont's sweet black and white illustrations show Lulu and her cousin Mellie and their class, noisy, exuberant, and interested in everything around them. There are plenty of cute, fuzzy animals pictured as well. The text is a step up from a very beginning chapter, but still comes in just over 100 pages and at a level a strong 2nd grader or average 3rd grader could easily read.

Lulu isn't quite as idealistic in this first book as she is in the later ones I read; she gets into trouble and has little spats with her cousin. Overall though, this is a feel-good book for any reader who will enjoy Lulu's love of animals and the funny trouble she gets into.

Verdict: This series has been quite popular and I'm sure my book club members who like animal stories will enjoy this, if they haven't already read it. Highly recommended.

Revisited: I still love to recommend these; they haven't been quite as popular with my book club readers as I'd hoped - they are a little too challenging for our lower level readers.

ISBN: 9780807548080; Published 2012 by Albert Whitman; Purchased for the library

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