Lulu and the Dog from the Sea by Hilary McKay and illustrated by Priscilla Lamont. Albert Whitman and Company, 2014. 112 pages. (originally published in the United Kingdom, first published in the U.S. by Scholastic in 2011)
Reading Level: Chapter Books, ages 4-8, 8-10
Maturity Level: 2, 3
Lulu and her cousin Mellie rescue a dog from the sea in this adventure. Lulu’s parents, Lulu, and Mellie are spending the week at the beach, and they are staying in a somewhat rundown beach house. The owner of the house warns them of a menacing dog that has been getting into the trash cans at night; much to their dismay, Lulu’s parents must bring in the smelly trash can each night. Lulu, however, sees beyond the dog’s trash-eating habits to the lonely, hungry dog underneath. She determines to rescue the dog, and she ends up disobeying her parents to do so. The dog, in turn, rescues the girls, and both girls learn a valuable lesson about obedience even as they convince Lulu’s parents that the dog needs to come home with them.
Information about the Series: The Lulu books form a noteworthy chapter book series: tightly written with just the right ratio of words to pictures. Great characterization, good plot resolution, and solid relationships make these books winners. Lulu is resourceful, childlike, concerned about animals, and struggles with obeying her parents. She is close with her parents and also with her cousin Mellie. The books each feature an animal-related adventure in which Lulu is trying to save an animal with her cousin Mellie’s help. Humor, early-elementary-level adventure, and consequences for Lulu’s actions (both responsible and irresponsible) make these books a perfect fit for young readers transitioning from the easy reader stage to longer chapter books. Illustrations are well done and add to the story. Both boys and girls will enjoy these, but young girls who have a bleeding heart for animal rescue will especially enjoy them.
Overall Value: 4.5 (out of 5)
- Moral/worldview value: 4
- Artistic value: 5