Meet Molly Lou Melon: she's "just taller than her dog," with "buck teeth that stuck out so far, she could stack pennies on them," and a voice that brings to mind "a bullfrog being squeezed by a boa constrictor." She also possesses huge insect-like eyes. In fact, young readers may actually gasp when they get a good look at the fearless first-grader in Catrow's (She's Wearing a Dead Bird on Her Head) double spread, extreme close-up portrait. Thanks to her grandmother, the protagonist possesses seemingly indomitable self-esteem but will it survive a move to a new school and a bully named Ronald Durkin? Newcomer Lovell doesn't offer any real surprises in her fable there's never any doubt that Molly Lou Melon will charm her classmates with her eccentric talents (which include making a paper snowflake the size of a school room), or that even Ronald Durkin will capitulate and join her fan club. What keeps the storytelling fresh is the crisp prose and the heroine's full-speed-ahead determination; the story never dallies too long on the potentially saccharine message. Catrow's full-bleed pencil-and-watercolor illustrations, awash in ripe colors and animated by slapstick exaggeration, radiate a winningly eccentric elegance. Ages 4-8. (Sept.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Molly Lou Melon, the shortest girl in first grade, has buckteeth, a voice like a bullfrog and fumble fingers. Her grandmother has taught her to accept herself and be proud and the world will accept her, too. When Molly moves to a new town and school, Grandma's words of wisdom are put to the test. People can behave nastily toward those who are different. Fortunately, Molly Lou Melon's practice of accepting herself helps her to pass the test with flying colors. Speaking of colors, illustrator David Catrow's fine watercolors add zest and texture to this simple yet affecting tale. 2001, G.P. Putnam's Sons, $14.99. Ages 5 to 8. Reviewer:Christopher Moning
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3-Although first-grader Molly Lou Melon is extremely short, has buck teeth you can stack pennies on and a bull-frog voice, and is clumsy, her grandmother keeps reminding her that if she believes in herself, the world will believe in her, too. When Molly Lou's family moves, and she encounters the school bully, Ronald Durkin, she remembers her grandmother's advice. When he calls her "SHRIMPO!" she beats him at football and, full of self-confidence, meets his other taunts with an astounding array of talents. The intricate snowflake she cuts wins Ronald's admiration and his gift of a stacking penny for her teeth. Catrow's pencil and neon-green-tinged watercolor illustrations suit the exuberant, over-the-top quality of the protagonist and text. The book's message, however, may leave readers wondering if the way to deal with a bully is just to be better at everything, which might not be feasible for many children. Judith Caseley's Bully (Greenwillow, 2001) is more realistic. Still, Lovell's story is good fun, and to believe in oneself, in all one's variability, is a laudable theme.-Susan Hepler, Burgundy Farm Country Day School, Alexandria, VA Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Spunky Molly Lou Melon isn't going to let anything get in her way, including the fact that she is short, clutzy, buck-toothed, and has a voice like a frog. Newcomer Lovell's heroine follows her grandmother's sage wisdom to walk proudly, smile big, sing out, and believe in herself. And Molly has never needed that advice more than when her family moves. At her new school, Molly immediately becomes the target of Ronald Durkin, the bully. But leave it to Molly to transform all her "faults" into marvelous talents that get the best of Ronald Durkin, as hilariously illustrated by Catrow ("Take Me Out of the Bathtub and Other Silly Dilly Songs", p. 499, etc.). His pictures fill the pages with wild perspectives, goofy-looking kids, and hilarious details. Readers will have no trouble imagining themselves a part of the action, and Lovell makes it easy for children to chime in with several repetitive phrases. Even if Molly Lou Melon's tale "is "a little too good to be true, she leaves readers with the feeling that anything can be accomplished if you are the best person you can be and make the most of your gifts. "(Picture book. 4-8)"
From the Publisher
"Leave it to Molly to transform all her 'faults' into marvelous talents.. . . Catrow's pictures fill the pages with wild perspectives, goofy-looking kids, and hilarious details. . . . Leaves readers with the feeling that anything can be accomplished if you are the best person you can be and make the most of your gifts." (Kirkus Reviews)
"What keeps the storytelling fresh is the crisp prose and the heroine's full-spead-ahead determination. . . . Catrow's full-bleed pencil-and-watercolor illustrations, awash in ripe colors and animated by slapstick exaggeration, radiate a winningly eccentric elegance." (Publishers Weekly)
"The text is fast and funny, and Molly Lou is a fetching little heroine. Catrow's palette is intense. . . . This will make a comic readaloud." (The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books)