Monday 19 July 2010

Children's Book Review - The Taming of Lola : A Shrew Story - Ellen Weiss

I love it when, as an adult, you read a bedtime story to your little ones and smirk at the cheeky in-jokes that only the grown-ups will understand. With the Shakespearian allusions of the title The Taming of Lola : A Shrew Story, that's exactly what we get. Other examples are the insectified menus featuring Fleanut butter and jelly or Hambugers (definitely one not to read aloud !) or the Chicago Grubs T-shirt.

The story tells the tale of Lola, a bratty little shrew who leads her parents a merry dance until she meets her match in her visiting cousin, Lester. They are both as bad as each other in the diva-style tantrums stakes and, eventually, have to learn to make their peace and try to get on with each other, or maybe even become unlikely friends. The life lessons of tolerance, making friends and being nice to others (including parents) are easily understood by even the youngest readers, who giggle if you point out that some of the tantrums sound a bit like things they may have said at some point.

The book has a delicious degree of eww-factor in the disgusting (to humans !) cakes that young readers will love. Juliette also giggled at the way the two young shrews yelled at each other, adopting the insult "Foo-face" for future use with her big sister, I think ! The illustrations, courtesy of Jerry Smath, are so highly detailed and interesting that Juliette, who can't read yet, is happy enough to sit quietly in the corner scrutinising each page for minutes at a time to see everything that is going on. Even so, you'll still spot new details you'd never noticed before every time you read the story.

You can tell this is an American tale, through some of the words and details in the pictures, but this adds to the enjoyment rather than detracting from it. 8-year-old Sophie was fascinated by the idea of a little flag on the mailbox to show you if there's post or not so that you don't have to walk all the way out to the front of the house for nothing !

It's a lovely tale that will give you a few shared giggles at bedtime.

star rating : 4.5/5

RRP : £9.99

Hardcover: 32 pages
Publisher: Harry N. Abrams, Inc. (22 Feb 2010)
Language English
ISBN-10: 0810940663
ISBN-13: 978-0810940666
Product Dimensions: 27.2 x 24.6 x 1.2 cm

Other reviews you might be interested in :
Bookadoo Personalised Photobooks for Children
Little Croc's Purse - Lizzie Finlay
children's book review : Wake Up ! - Katie Cleminson - plus two free Wake Up ! colouring sheets to download
The Boy Who Climbed Into The Moon - David Almond

Morris the Mankiest Monster - Giles Andreae

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