Friday, October 19, 2012
Lulu Walks the Dogs (CYBILS Nominee)
The bulk of the story is taken up with how Lulu attempts to earn money to buy her heart's desire, since her parents refuse to shell out the moolah. She quickly hits upon the idea of dog walking. Fleischman, a nice polite boy who's yin to Lulu's yang, helps her manage her workload--Brutus, a belligerent bulldog, Pookie, a spoiled toy fuzzball, and Cordelia, a vain dachshund. Lulu is less than pleased with Fleischman's help--even though he asks for nothing in return and is an ace dog whisperer. Lulu just doesn't like him, mostly because he's a goody-two-shoes.
Viorst tells her tale with plenty of authorial asides--all quite clever and amusing. There are frequent time-outs in which she humorously answers questions young readers might be asking, such as "What is it Lulu wants to buy with all this money she's earning?" The answer? "I really don't feel like discussing this right now." Smith's clever pencil illustrations match the book's satirical tone.
By the end, surprise, surprise, Lulu and Fleischman work out their differences. But to Viorst's credit, the mismatched pair don't become best friends. As she aptly puts it: "You want a happy ending? Read Cinderella."
Lulu Walks the Dogs
by Judith Viorst
illustrations by Lane Smith
Atheneum, 160 pages
Published: September 2012