Lulu Atlantis from Sweet Pea Lane, with a baby brother and a dad off saving extinct animals like the Double-Eyed Fig Parrot, confides her troubles to her best friend, Harry. So what if Harry is a talking spider in a top hat whom no one else can see? He offers good advice, reminding a skeptical Lulu that "to find True Blue Love, you would not have to search beyond your own backyard." It's no surprise that the adventures in these four linked stories leave Lulu with the realization that she is already enmeshed in everyday scrumptious love-the fun percolates within Martin's (Travels with Rainie Marie) flavorful storytelling. Lulu, responding to the arrival of the baby, takes Harry and runs away. In a woods "as bleak as a midwinter midnight," they encounter a skunk who calls Lulu "kiddo" and "girlie"; when she asks for advice, he says, "I'm a skunk, not a magician, I don't got all the answers"-then tells her precisely what to do. Subsequent run-ins involve three gangster bakers (Scarecrow, Lefty-Righty Louie and Jimmy Creamcheese) and Princess Fancy the diabolical cat. Martin winningly deviates from the narrative with descriptive interjections: "Please understand, Farmer Wallenhaupt's Frog Pond was not a pond as most people imagine a pond to be. It was filled with silver water whose droplets slid about like mercury." The scenarios are whimsical; the emotions run true. Ages 7-11. (Jan.)Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
AGERANGE: Ages 7 to 10.
Lulu Atlantis is sure she has found true blue love. Father is away on his crusades and it is just Lulu and her mother. But now Mother has done the unbelievable: she has brought home a baby. Lulu decides to run away and search for true blue love. She has friends from home and friends she meets during her adventures along the way--a spider who wears a top hat, a skunk named Yogurt, a frog, and a cat. And what about baby brother Sam? Can Lulu find the secret ingredient that Mother adds to the oatmeal so Sam will eat it? Lulu learns a special lesson from her Mother about what to add to make breakfast (and other family times) magical--even then there might be a monster under the bed and a very strange cat. The book is relatively long and has four parts and numerous characters, which might overwhelm readers on the younger end of the range. Reviewer: Carol Ann Lloyd-Stanger
School Library Journal
Gr 2-4- Martin has created a most unusual cast of characters in this series of four quirky stories about Lulu Atlantis, an independent little girl on a quest for True Blue Love after the arrival of a baby brother. She is accompanied everywhere by her loyal companion Harry, a daddy longlegs who sports a top hat and green shirt (with many sleeves) and freely dispenses loving advice: "Never make a skunk mad!" and "Go where life takes you." As she continues her quest, Sam the Baby becomes Sam the Toddler, and a series of entertaining episodes ensue. Lulu's voice is unique and funny: she tells a threatening Yogurt Skunk (so named because he had to be freed of a yogurt carton stuck on his head), "I've got a father who's always away, a mother who forgets I even exist, and an uninvited baby brother who hogs every minute of Mother's time! And I'm running far away...! I've got my hands full, buddy." Readers will also meet a philosophical Eggman; cranky, hard-of-hearing Grandpère Hy; and demanding Great-aunty Hauty. Snappy dialogue and just the right amount of tension move the plot along smoothly, and in the end Lulu discovers what her friend Harry has tried to tell her all along: "...to find True Blue Love, you would not have to search beyond your own backyard." This would be a delightful read-aloud for families or classrooms, but the length may be challenging for younger independent readers.-Lee Bock, Glenbrook Elementary School, Pulaski, WI Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.