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"Never trust anyone who has not brought a book with them."
Summary: On first glance, Lulu McDunn looks just like any other red-headed girl. Look a little closer and you'll see her eyes are two different colors, five thumbs, and six thumbs on one hand. Other people react oddly, but Lulu is very content to be who she is. Through exaggeration, this rhyming story reminds kids to be proud of who they are.
Type of Reading: bedtime story, playtime reading, read aloud book, learning to read
Recommended Age: read together: 3 to 8; read yourself: 6 to 9
Interest Level: 3 to 9
Reading Level: 1.3
Age of Child: Read with and by a 9-year-old girl.
Young Reader Reaction: "I love this, mom." There were some initial "ooh's" and "gross" when we read this the first time, but our daughter clearly got the message: everyone is different in different ways. She asked to read this on several consecutive nights.
Adult Reader Reaction: This is one of the bet "be true to yourself" books I've seen in a while. The rhymes work and are not forced; the story is clever, unique, and grounded in reality (other people's behavior). I love how positive Lulu is about each of her unique traits. The author cleverly sneaks in a counting lesson, too! I only wish that the illustrations lived up to the story. It seems like they could have done a lot more for the book ... including having "background" activities to complement Lulu's perspective.
Pros: Lulu is a character whom kids will respect. There are messages here but the reader isn't beaten over the head with them.
Cons: As mentioned above, the story deserves illustrations as clever as the story itself.
Borrow or Buy: Buy. This is a story that you'll enjoy for years. For very young readers you have the benefit of working on counting. In the early elementary years, it is a good illustration of social behavior, as well as a great text for helping developing readers.
Educational Themes: Each of Lulu's traits follow a climbing scale to ten, so you can do some counting with the book. The story makes it easy to see various themes: be confident in who you are; celebrate your uniqueness; the glass is always half full. Throughout the book there are images of people looking askance at Lulu. These are ready-made opportunities to talk about social etiquette.
Notes: The publisher donated a copy of this book knowing that we would consider it for review and provide an independent, unbiased profile. This book will be given to a nonprofit to help readers in need.