Tuesday, 5 March 2013

But Excuse Me That Is My Book (Charlie and Lola, based on characters created by Lauren Child) - (Puffin Books)

Kids go absolutely wild for Charlie and Lola - mostly thanks to the brilliant TV series, but of course also due in no small part to the great books that preceded the TV treatment. Things have now gone full circle and there are books now based on stories from the TV episodes, including this one - "But Excuse Me That is MY Book"

Lola enjoys going to the library with her dad (sounds familiar) and her brother Charlie of course.
Lola always seems to pick out the same book (also sounds familiar, I think I've lost count of how many times we've borrowed Dr Ted!) but when she pops down to borrow it again, it's missing!

Charlie tries to console her by describing all the other books she could borrow instead. Books about knights, dragons, adventures (typical boy!) or even more books about nature similar to the one Lola fixates on.

Things come to a head when Lola spots another girl with HER book.

There's a lot to love about this, and there's also a few odd little things that could seriously do with ironing out. It would've been cool to see the library in the story absolutely thronging with kids - or even depicted as looking a bit more kid-friendly (most libraries have a vibrant kid's section, always far more comfy and welcoming than the shelves of books in the adult bit).

Charlotte also spotted a problem with the book that I hadn't picked up on. It was subtle, but it was there. She spotted that the other girl in the book was from an ethnic minority (oriental in this particular case) - a tiny point that would be completely overlooked if it wasn't for the fact that the girl (in some children's eyes) was perceived as the 'baddie' of the story (she's not really, she's just a child borrowing a book). It sparked an interesting discussion that highlighted just how careful you have to be when you're involved in any aspect of children's fiction, even things that target very young kids.

We love any book that celebrates libraries and the message here is loud and clear, that there's a world of books out there to enjoy - not just the ones you're familiar with.

Charlotte's best bit: The cheeky monkey book!

Daddy's favourite bit: A wonderful pro-library message. Needs some tweaking though!

(Kindly sent to us for review by Puffin Books)