Monday, July 2, 2012

Picture Book Monday - A review of Lou! Summertime Blues

I grew up reading the titles in two graphic novel series, the Tintin books and the Asterix books. In both, the stories are entertaining, and in the case of the Asterix titles, they are also full of social and political commentary. One thing the stories in these books do not do, is to explore issues that are relevant to young people today. The stories in the Lou! books do do this, and they do it very well. Tweens will see how Lou deals with her mother's dating woes, how she feels when the boy she likes lets her down, and how she copes with life's daily trails and tribulations.

Today's title is the second of the Lou! graphic novels, and I found it to be both entertaining and thoughtful.

Julien Neel
Graphic Novel
For ages 9 to 12
Lerner Publishing, 2012, 978-0-7613-8869-2
For most people, the summer vacation is a time for fun. For Lou and her mother Emma, anticipating the summer vacation has them singing their version of the blues. Lou is upset because her best friend Mina is not going to be around, and because the boy Lou likes (Tristan) has moved away without even saying goodbye. Emma is unhappy because Richard, her cute neighbor, is going to be gone for the summer and she misses him. Both Lou and Emma are “bummed” because they have to spend a month with Memaw, Emma’s mother, and Memaw is not a warm and cuddly person. In fact, she is often unkind and mean. And she cooks Brussels sprouts every day.
   Reluctantly, Emma and Lou get onto a train, and all too soon they arrive at Mortsville, the village where Emma grew up and where Memaw still lives. In no time at all, Emma and Memaw are screaming at each other, and Lou is wishing that she could go home. In Lou’s opinion, Emma’s situation is not that dire because Richard is writing to her. Lou doesn’t have someone writing to her, telling her how much she is missed. In fact she feels very lonely indeed; until she meets a very strange boy called Paul.
   Almost thirteen-year-old Lou is the kind of person that most tweens and teens can identify with. Combining humor and poignancy, the author perfectly captures the joys and woes of growing up.

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