Sunday, August 12, 2012

Book #225: Lola Reads to Leo by Anna McQuinn, Illustrated by Rosalind Beardshaw

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As you may know from her other books (Lola Loves Stories and Lola at the Library), Lola loves to read. Her day always ends with a story read by her parents. In the newest Lola installment, Lola’s family is getting ready for a new baby. Lola helps by sorting through her books to find good stories for the new shelves in the baby's room. When baby Leo is born, Lola cheers him up by telling him stories when he cries, she reads her potty book to him when he is getting his diaper changed, and she even reads her best duck book while he takes a bath. Everyone is busy with the new baby and even Lola helps out. But it is never “too busy to end the day with a story for the best big sister of all.”

McQuinn has once again created a loving story of kind-hearted, book-loving Lola. The text is written in third person and printed in large bold letters, making it easy to follow along. The words are simple and straightforward; free of sugarcoated sentiments and clich├ęs. Beardshaw’s illustrations are colorful and painterly. I especially love Lola’s brightly patterned outfits and curly mop of hair. The story shows a caring and affectionate family that just happens to be African-American.

This book is a great recommendation for new or soon-to-be-new big sisters and brothers. It focuses on positive reinforcements with Lola modeling supportive older sibling behavior. The book also gives parents ideas on how to involve an older sibling in the preparation and care of a new baby.

Use this book for a storytime about brothers and sisters and pair it with Cooking with Henry and Elliebelly, Shhh!, Julius the Baby of theWorld, or Another Brother. For a non-fiction tie in, try Steve Jenkins and Robin Page’s Sisters and Brothers: Sibling Relationships in the Animal World. Try the rhymes, I Have a Baby Sister and I Can Make the Baby Smile.

On an interesting side note, when the books in this series were published in other countries Lola’s name was changed. For instance, in the UK Lola is Lulu, in the Netherlands she is Bibi, and in Denmark she is Luna. Even Leo does not escape the name changing. In the UK he is Zeki and in some countries his name is replaced by the term for baby or little brother. Check out McQuinn’s website to see the titles by country. 


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