Early chapter book review – Lulu walks the dogs by: Judith Viorst, Illustrated by: Lane Smith

luluThis is the second book that Lulu stars in.  The first book Lulu and the Brontosaurus is laugh out loud funny, as Lulu the most spoiled girl in the world finally gets told that “No, she cannot have a brontosaurus as a pet”.  Lulu learns a lot about being polite in the first book, and is changed in many ways.

The second book is just as funny.  Lulu needs to make some extra money, and after asking her parents politely 18 times and being told no. Lulu finally decides to get a job to earn it (because she’s done with tantrums after Lulu and the Brontosaurus).  And although Lulu knows nothing about dogs, she decides that being a dog walker is the perfect way to earn money.  Turns out (like most things in life) that walking dogs isn’t as easy as she thought.  So she gets some seemingly unwanted help from Fleischman (who’s first name is Fleishcman, not his last name, and there’s a whole other story on that too), who Lulu thinks is a a goody-goody, and makes her want to throw up in all his perfectness.

The antics, and advice, and life lessons about accepting people for who they are, and maybe, just maybe being a little bit nicer bring out much laughter and learning.

Judith Viorst has so many great picture books out (Alexander, and the terrible, no good, very bad day), so it’s not surprising that she’s created such a great series.  The narration alone in this book is brilliant, with the narrator regularly interjecting into the story to interact with the reader ” In actual life this almost could never happen.  In the stories I write, things like this happen a lot. Deal with it”.  Even going on tangents within the story to help explain things that might go over the young reader’s head, with excellent and funny explanations.

This would make the most wonderful read aloud book, and with Lane Smith’s fabulous pencil drawings throughout (my personal favourite is when the author speaks of Brutus the dog and his owner looking alike, complete will full pages picture) This is one of the best early Chapter books I’ve read all year.

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