Review: Lulu Walks the Dogs (2012)

Lulu Walks the DogLulu Walks the Dogs by Judith Viorst

I picked out this Judith Viorst chapter book to read to my 5-year-old not knowing that it was a stand-alone sequel to another Lulu book, Lulu and the Brontosaurus.  I chose this book because of the attractive cover (not judging a book by its cover totally goes against human nature, in my opinion!), the variance of the text from one page to another (which make the pages fun to look at), and the amusing black-and-white pictures that were created by Caldecott Award winner, Lane Smith  (which turned out to the be the best thing about this book).

Lulu really, really wants a mysterious something that her parents will not buy for her so she decides to earn the money for it by walking dogs in her neighborhood.  Lulu does not have the patience or skill needed for walking dogs and so, to her dismay, her utterly perfect and annoyingly kind neighbor Fleischman must come to her rescue.

There is a lot that is good about this book.  It is a simple story that is easy to follow and it is divided into multiple chapters that are quite short, so you don’t have to commit long amounts of time to sit down and read it to your little people.  This book would make a good read-aloud for a 1st grade class, especially if you want a couple of good examples of characters with easily identifiable character traits or if you are trying to highlight the idea of voice in text.

My 5-year-old son really enjoyed this book.  According to him, it was “as good as Charlotte’s Web, but not better”.  This mother does not agree at all.  So, I had to ask him, what does a 5-year-old find appealing about this book?  He told me his favorite parts were the silly money song that Lulu would sing throughout the book, and he loved the character of Fleischman “because he’s so smart”.  On the other hand, my parent brain found the character of Lulu to be quite annoying and the writing to be choppy and awkward.  I would be interested to hear if other younger students also like this book.  Perhaps it’s the grown-up in me that makes it hard to appreciate what this book has to offer?   -Marika

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