Move over, Madeline—there’s a new Parisian picture-book character to adore in Matthew Olshan’s unusual story, The Mighty Lalouche. At the turn of the 20th century lives a humble postman named Lalouche. Although he’s small and “rather bony,” his hands are nimble, his legs are fast, and his arms are strong. This pint-sized postman has much to love—his pet finch, a room along the Seine (even though it lacks a view) and his handlebar mustache. But when a fleet of electric autocars replaces the mail carrier, Lalouche fears he’ll lose everything he has.

Refusing to give up, he applies for an advertised boxing position. Such hulky champions as the Piston and the Grecque simply laugh at Lalouche and prepare to pulverize him. With her layered ink and watercolor artwork, Sophie Blackall, the talented illustrator of the Ivy + Bean series, creates a 3-D effect that exaggerates the size of the French boxers and Lalouche’s unthinkable matches against them. The endpapers sport funny trading cards of these outlandish athletes.

Using the speed and agility he developed as a postman, Lalouche beats his challengers one by one, even the Anaconda. Although undefeated as a boxer, he knows he must return to his true passion—delivering the mail.

Lalouche proves that true might comes from determination. A new room with a view of the Seine, and even a nook for his beloved finch, is all the reward he needs. This winning tale, c’est ­magnifique!

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Read our interview with illustrator Sophie Blackall for The Mighty Lalouche.

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