Author Lois Petren and illustrator Tanja Russita return to bookshelves with a new adventure for Lulu and Lainey
Earlier in 2017, we fell in love with Lois Petren and Tanja Russita’s Lulu and Lainey series. We reviewed the first entry, Lulu and Lainey … A French Yarn, which was inspired by Petren’s own experience of losing a ball of yarn while on holiday. The book tells a cute little tale of a girl, Lulu, who loves to knit so much she has befriended a green ball of yarn, Lainey. Set against the backdrop of Paris, it features delightful art, and a poetic and whimsical story. It was followed by Lulu and Lainey … A Christmas Tale, and now a third book joins the fun.
Lulu and Lainey … The Lucky Day Children’s Book Review
There’s something truly romantic about this series. I just love the relationship between the story and the art. Lulu and Lainey … The Lucky Day wisely opens with a full page illustration that showcases Russita’s immense talent and her take on suburban Paris. It instantly embodies the book in an atmosphere that’s impossible to dislike. One that not only feels authentic to its European setting, but like a throwback fairy tale you could easily imagine was written a hundred years ago.
That ties into the experiences of Lulu with her grandmother, grand-mère, who both star in this third book. Like the children of countless generations past, Lulu and her grand-mère head to the local gardens to enjoy some time together. The Luxemburg Garden, which does exist in real Paris, sounds like a children’s paradise. The opening half of the book indulges readers in all the park’s treats. Petren does a great job casting kids’ imaginations into this environment. It’s all wonderfully supported by the art, and I love how Russita mixes up the perspectives and keeps her watercolours light and uncomplicated.
Using a real location also adds to the fun. It gives readers (parents and kids alike) an insight into a small corner of a city all people would like to visit, but very few get the chance to do. Even less would get to see it from the perspective of a local child out in the suburbs.
After enjoying the delights of the park, the two sit down to eat and knit. Lulu loves knitting with grand-mère, as much as Petren herself. But when two squirrels run off with Lainey, her favourite piece of yarn, a second adventure results. Will Lulu get Lainey back? Well, as you might suspect from the title, Lulu is having a lucky day.
Lulu and Lainey … The Lucky Day Technical Review
Now in their rhythm, the design and layout of this square-shaped book is very effective. It befits the uncomplicated, quaint nature of the subject matter. My only criticisms are mighty small. The first image where Lulu is seen holding the boat comes a stanza before the story that relates to it. This was a little out of whack and I felt a need to justify why she was holding the boat to my kids before it was explained in the story. Potentially this is a bigger issue on small digital devices where you can only see one page at a time. However as mentioned, this is a very minor point.
I also thought the story was distracted by the arrival of the squirrels halfway through the book. The flow is broken somewhat and a couple of the sentences don’t roll off the tongue as well as they did earlier in the book. Again, this is a minor editing issue and barely distracts from the story. Kids will not notice, and will love the sudden burst in action and tempo. In the end, what’s not to love about cheeky squirrels after all? Especially when it all ends in hot chocolate!
As you may have established, I am a fan of the Lulu and Lainey series. Petren and Russita are quite the team. If you haven’t gotten in on the fun yet, this is a great place to start. In particular I recommend it to parents who like the idea of sharing different cultures with their children.
- Author: Lois Petren
- Illustrator: Tanja Russita
- Suitable for: Ages 2-6
- Where to Buy: Amazon
Where to Next?
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