Thursday, September 15, 2016

review of Lou Lou and Pea and the Mural Mystery 9.15.16

I feel like sometimes it's hard to find books that are just right for 3rd and 4th grade.  These kids are ready for longer books, but sometimes middle grade is too long.  I find kids in this age level often abandon books because they don't have the stamina to stick with some of the longer middle grade novels.  In an age when we want kids to embrace reading and find their reading identities, we need books that they will stay with, books that they will see themselves in, books that are entertaining.  I'm thrilled to have read an advanced copy of Lou Lou and Pea and the Mural Mystery by Jill Diamond, publishing October 18th, because this is a book I can't wait to get in the hands of the 3rd and 4th graders at my school.

Lou Lou and Pea and the Mural Mystery
Lou Lou and Pea and the Mural Mystery
by Jill Diamond
illustrated by Lesley Vamos
published by Farrar Straus Giroux

Goodreads summary:
BFFs Lou Lou Bombay and Peacock Pearl love their PSPP (Post-School Pre-Parents) tea parties on Friday afternoons, where they recap the school week, chat about Pea's latest fashions, and tend to Lou Lou's burgeoning backyard garden. But when a series of small crimes crop up around El Corazón, their quaint and quirky neighborhood, right before the Día de Los Muertos Parade, the girls must join forces (horticultural know-how and artistic genius) to solve the mystery.

When I read this part on the very first page, I knew I would be hooked:

Who doesn't agree with that?

Lou Lou and Pea are lovable characters, each one different from the other.  Lou Lou lives in a house that is designed like a boat.  She has a passion for horticulture.  Pea comes from a Latino family and uses Spanish throughout the book (love that Spanish is added without it being a teaching point) and is studying design and art.  But it's their desire to solve their neighborhood's mystery that brings excitement to the book!  Kids love mysteries, and this one combines the characters' passions and the setting of the book - around Halloween and the Día de los Muertos celebrations in their town.

Lesley Vamos' illustrations are eye catching and will appeal to young readers.  I really enjoyed the larger spreads that had the mysterious murals in them.

I enjoyed this book so much I checked with Jill and she confirmed that there will be more Lou Lou and Pea coming in the future!  I can't wait to read more adventures!

Readers who enjoyed Tara Dairman's All Four Stars series will enjoy Lou Lou and Pea.  It would also be fun to pair with Duncan Tonatiuh's Funny Bones: Posada and His Day of the Dead Calaveras.  

Find this book on October 18th!  It would make for a great read aloud or addition to your library!

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