But excuse me THAT is my book!

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Charlie And Lola: But Excuse Me That Is My Book By Lauren Child, Illustrated by Lauren ChildBut excuse me THAT is my book!‘ is a delightful book written by Lauren Child and is part of the Charlie and Lola series that is seen on TV. Charlie and Lola are brother and sister – Charlie being the older sensible brother and Lola the slightly annoying but totally adorable younger sister constantly asking questions and expecting the entire world to see things exactly her way! Absolutely typical of any three year old really!

This particular book is all about a visit to the library. Lola is firmly attached to an information book called ‘Beetles, Bugs and Butterflies’. So much so that she thinks that the book belongs to only her and is incredibly upset when she arrives at the library and discovers that it is not there having been borrowed by someone else. Charlie then attempts to interest her in lots of other books – books about Romans, encyclopaedias and pop-up books, but Lola always has a reason why she does not want to read that particular book and why it will not be as good as ‘Beetles, Bugs and Butterflies’!

Charlie is nearly tearing his hair out at this stage! Lola wants an animal book with lots of pictures and no big words…and animals that will make her laugh! He finally suggests ‘Cheetahs and Chimpanzees’ and Lola finally agrees to give it a go even though it won’t be as good as her book when…she sees someone else walking out  with her book! Well, anyone who has a young child who has gone through the terrible twos can imagine what happens next – Lola has an almighty tantrum and the accompanying pictures show her thumping her arms and kicking her legs as she descends deeper and deeper into a bean bag! I guess we’ve all been there!

When she does calm down though she opens up ‘Cheetahs and Chimpanzees’ and suddenly discovers lots of interesting and funny things – the cheetahs are very fast and the chimpanzees are very cheeky! Suddenly she likes the book so much that it is ‘probably the most best book in the whole world’! Guess which book she’ll be choosing at the library next time!

I love this book as much as all the ones featuring Charlie and Lola. I think Lauren Child is spot on at getting inside the mind of a small child – I could imagine my daughters thinking exactly the same as Lola does about the book and me having to explain, probably more than once, why the book was not theirs! Most of the story is written as a dialogue between Charlie and Lola, with Charlie narrating the bits in between. Lola is given some really wonderful expressions – the sorts of things that a typical three year old would come out with – you can almost hear the words being spoken! Charlie, on the other hand, is incredibly patient and you can almost hear the weariness in his voice as he tries to interest Lola in yet another book!

Once you have read a few of the Charlie and Lola books, you realise that they all start in exactly the same way with Charlie saying

‘I have this little sister Lola.
She is small and very funny.’

This is also the same way as each of the TV episodes starts so it is nice and familiar to young children. Also the fact that Charlie and Lola are such good characters means you are sure of an enjoyable read before you even open the book.

The illustrations are absolutely wonderful and the pictures of Charlie and Lola are the same as on television. It is the backgrounds in all the pictures that I particularly like – some are hand drawn and some are photographs, some have the ideas from Lola’s head dancing all over the page so there is pretty good variety. Every page is definitely very colourful and interesting.

The way the text is set out on each page is also very interesting. Some words that you want to emphasise are bigger, and the sentences are set out all over the page. This does add to the interest on the page, but would make it very hard for a child who is an early reader to attempt on his or her own. Some of the sentences look like waves and at other times the words are at a slant! I have to say I like all these effects but they might be a bit off-putting for some!

It’s also a useful book if you are going to start taking your child to the library. There is a wonderful page where Charlie keeps telling Lola to shush, to which she replies quite loudly that she is ‘shushing’! This could lead to explaining about some of the rules in libraries and why you have to be quiet.

I think children will really like this book as because of the simple story, lovely characters and great illustrations. I like it because I recognise so much of my daughters in it and it really makes me laugh!

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But Excuse Me That Is My Book
by Lauren Child

One Comment on "But excuse me THAT is my book!"

  1. frangliz
    08/02/2010 at 07:18 Permalink

    Charlie and Lola books are always popular, and this one is a favourite of mine.

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