Purpose of this Blog...

You may have noticed that not all books are equal in capturing children's imaginations and in cultivating those innocent, tender souls. My goal is to help you find the ones that do!
(Painting by Mary Cassatt: "Mrs Cassatt Reading to her Grandchildren" -1888)

Tuesday, June 28, 2011



"I always wanted a brother, although I doubt he would have been as nice as Charlie. I made him seven because it is one of my favorite ages. I never think of Lola as precocious and certainly not brat-ish - she is one of those children who is just very curious and has quite a strong sense of self. Lots of four-year-olds are like her. There is a retro feel to the whole Charlie and Lola world; the subject is simple and always about the tiny things in life. Tiny things, which can seem very big when you are four or seven."
- Lauren Child
Each one of Lauren Child's Charlie and Lola books starts, "I have a little sister, Lola. She is small and very funny" (she's four and she drinks pink milk!) Who can resist that?? According to Child, this sibling pair is "everychild - their stories talk about problems most children can relate to." In each story, we find patient Charlie in the predicament of having to come up with inventive ways of persuading Lola to try new food, go to bed, or see the importance of going to school. The character of Lola is based on a little girl Child observed on a train while she was travelling in Denmark.

If you've read any other Lauren Child books (see yesterday's post), you'll immediately recognize her style: the witty humor and dialogue, mixed media illustrations, and text that wanders across the page.

THE ORIGINAL BOOKS that started it all (be sure not to miss these!):
I Will Never Not Ever Eat a Tomato
I Will Never Not Ever Eat a Tomato (Charlie and Lola)
I Am Not Sleepy and I Will Not Go to Bed 
I Am Not Sleepy and I Will Not Go to Bed [I AM NOT SLEEPY & I WILL NOT G]
I Am Too Absolutely Small for School
I Am Too Absolutely Small for School (Charlie and Lola)
Slightly Invisible (Charlie and Lola)Slightly Invisible, Child's newest "original": This fourth tale was inspired by a boy who asked Child, "Have you ever thought about writing a book where Charlie actually gets annoyed with Lola?", this is the story of Charlie's attempts to play on his own with his friend Marv - and Lola's efforts to engage them.

(My son and daughter, David and Mary, were a lot like Charlie and Lola.  David was definitely patient with his sister, although Mary wasn't quite as energetic or persistent as Lola... when one of them had a friend over - and then permanently when we added Little Brother Jonny into the mix -  they had to adapt to the dynamic that came with being three, like in SLIGHTLY INVISIBLE!)

"Oh," says Lola.  "Would you maybe like to have a tea party instead?"

The four original books by this prolific British children's book author/illustrator were adapted as a cartoon television series in 2005 in Britain.  The episodes (now available on DVD) were also shown on Playhouse Disney here in the U.S. and have been as popular with parents as with their kids. The characters, voiced by children with adorable British accents, are endearing.  Her titles are hilarious...

These Spin-off books are based on scripts and animation from the series (simpler than originals, but still entertaining and fun - 24 pages - click on titles to see cover art and read reviews):
I Am Extremely Absolutely Boiling
I'm Just Not Keen On Spiders
But I Am An Alligator
I've Won, No I've Won, No I've Won
Snow Is My Favorite and My Best
But Excuse Me That Is My Book 
We Honestly Can Look After Your Dog
My Wobbly Tooth Must Not Ever Never Fall Out 
Say Cheese!
I'm Really Ever So Not Well
This Is Actually My Party
I Can Do Anything That's Everything All on My Own
I Want to Be Much More Bigger Like You

The DVD'S of the Charlie and Lola shows from Disney Playhouse can be purchased HERE.

There are also games and other "fun stuff" on the CHARLIE AND LOLA WEBSITE.

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