Monday, February 3, 2014

Picture Book Monday with a review of Loula is Leaving for Africa

Most children, at some point, decide that they cannot stand being at home. They get it into their heads that they are not appreciated or understood, and the only thing they can do is to run away. I remember the day I did this. I managed to get about four blocks from my house before I sat on the curb, a picture of misery. In today's picture book you are going to meet a little girl who decides to run away to Africa, and who finds a wonderful companion to take her there.

Loula Is Leaving for AfricaLoula is leaving for Africa
Anne Villeneuve
Picture book
For ages 5 to 7
Kids Can Press, 2013, 978-1-55453-941-3
Loula is afflicted with three brothers who are “MEAN, HORRIBLE,” and to add insult to injury, they are also “STINKY.” One day she decides that she has endured as much as she can take, and she announces that she is leaving home. She packs a little suitcase and heads down the stairs to begin her journey to a place that is far away from the dreadful triplets.
   Loula tells her mother and father that she is going to Africa, but both of them are far too busy to take what she is saying seriously. Which is very annoying. So annoying in fact, that Loula decides that she will never come back. Why should she.  No one cares about her.
   Loula climbed a tree, which is where Gilbert the chauffer finds her. When Loula tells him that she is in Africa he informs her that she has made a mistake. They look at a map together and then Gilbert tells the little girl that she will need to travel on a ship to get to Africa. Gilbert pretends that the family car is the ship and he takes Loula on a journey that turns out to be wonderfully exciting.

   Most of us experience days when nothing goes well. Machines break down, people are mean, and life has a grey pall hanging over it. This picture book is perfect for days like this, for days when one feels like running away from home. Children will be charmed by Loula’s adventures with Gilbert, and they will appreciate that all Loula really needed was a little love and attention.

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