For children too young to read but old enough to imitate word sounds and identify everyday objects/activities, there is something about this little girl named Lulu that makes a connection as if she is a real person. Maybe it's her smiling round face and friendly eyes; her little red shoes and wardrobe of colorful clothes; her collection of friends and family; or the way she performs the simplest of tasks that children find her so believable. Those who found Caroline Uff's previous children's book Hello Lulu to be just the right combination of simple, bright, colorful illustrations and easy-to-repeat text will find more of the same in Lulu's Busy Day (Ages 2Ã5). Perhaps it is the author's ability to beautifully illustrate each page, conveying a simple explanation of Lulu's day to day tasks (such as eating, brushing her teeth, or swinging in the park with her best friend) that makes the books so appealing to the very young. Uff is also a greeting card designer in her native Yorkshire, England, a talent clearly reflected in the concise matching of the pages' text and the vibrant pastel universe that encompasses Lulu's daily adventures. Even the choice of Lulu as the character's name is a simple, playful use of just the right amount of syllables that younger children will have fun repeating (and can request easily).
This time around, Lulu draws a picture, plays with her ball, visits the park, finds snails and other little bugs, plays with the ducks, swings on a swing, and returns home to eventually read a bedtime story and go to sleep. Children can learn valuable lessons from Lulu she cleans up her toys after playing with them, eats her dinner, takes her bath, and brushes her teeth, all while being a well-behaved and genuinely happy little person. With the creation of this second chapter of Lulu's life must also come a parental warning from me: Both books are likely requests before anyone will be willing to go to bed.
Jamie McAlister is the assistant editor for Port News and the father of two Lulu fans.