Friday, October 19, 2012

Lulu Walks the Dogs (CYBILS Nominee)

Judith Viorst and Lane Smith have paired up again for a second chapter book about the incomparable Lulu, "a girl who wants what she wants when she wants it". And what Lulu wants this time out is so out-of-this world outrageous that readers don't even learn what it is until the final pages. Trust me, it's a lulu.

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


  1. I just finished reading this aloud to my sons (7 and 3). It was so much fun and provided ample opportunity for me to exercise my performing skills!

  2. My seven-year-old Karina is dying to get her hands on this one. She loved Lulu and the Brontosaurus, and is anxious to see what mischief Lulu gets into next.

  3. Thanks for linking up to TCB, I pinned this post to The Children's Bookshelf Pinterest board.

  4. This sounds like a great book. I haven't read any Lulu books yet. Thanks for linking it up to The Children's Bookshelf!

  5. Ah, the cover illustration caught my eye and attention straight away in the link-up thumbnails. I should have known it was Lane Smith.

    I haven't seen the first book in this series either, but they both look like books I should keep an eye out for.