Sunday, January 8, 2012

Picture Book Review - Lottie Paris Lives Here

Recurring characters are a great device for young kids. They create an instant bond with a new book, becoming more like familiar friends than characters. Some of my best literary memories are with series characters: Frances, Frog and Toad, Pippi Longstocking, Nancy Drew, Henry Huggins.

Kids who otherwise won't tolerate anything new are more open to a different plot peopled by someone they already know. Sprout's right at this developmental stage -- over Christmas break he ate the exact same breakfast every single day, and when I suggested something different, he looked at me like I was nuts. He'd happily listen to the same book four times every night, but Mama needs to switch it up for sanity's sake. Enter series characters: I can easily sell a different Elephant and Piggie title in place of the one that's wearing a bit thin. Whew!

Angela Johnson's Lottie Paris Lives Here is a book all about one of the most endearingly energetic girls in kidlit today. She's smart and spunky, with an attitude and an imagination to match. At times that attitude gets her into trouble (Lottie ends up in the quiet chair on more than one occasion), which makes her all the more lovable. This is a girl who takes life and shakes it awake -- Sprout and I love the spread where Lottie's on the playground, because all that vivacious energy has her near about bursting off the page. Oh, and when Lottie wears a hat? Yep, that's a hat like no other, complete with feathers, flowers and frogs. Woot!

Scott M. Fischer illustrates this humdinger of a picture book. We loved Fischer's Jump!, which has become one of our favorite get-the-wiggles-out reads (here's my review). Fischer brings a similar liveliness to Lottie, giving her eyes that sparkle and snap, a head of luscious curls, and a smile that's about 1000 watts. No boring color palettes for Lottie's world, either -- it's all bright pastels, even down to Lottie's purple-furred puppy. Fischer knows how to draw kids, too, in all kinds of situations. Lottie's equally charming when she's yelling for another cookie, or when she's snuggled up to Papa Pete at the end of a long day's adventures.

I don't know if Angela Johnson is planning to make Lottie Paris a recurring character, but it's my opinion that she should. Lottie is the sort of girl kids are going to bond with instantly and stick with over the course of many books. More, please!

Lottie Paris Lives Here by Angela Johnson, published by Simon and Schuster
Ages 2-6
Source: Library
Sample: "Can you find Lottie in the park? / She's the one going this way / and that way / and under the trees, / around the fountain, / and down the slide. / Lottie Paris plays here."


Anonymous said...

sounds interesting. never heard of this books, will have to check it out. thx

Dorine White said...

I haven't heard of the Lottie books.Thanks for the recommend.

Beth Stilborn said...

I hadn't heard of Lottie Paris either, but I'm sure I'd love this book!

Have you read The Very Fairy Princess or The Very Fairy Princess Takes the Stage? They're about a spunky, bouncy little girl, Geraldine (Gerry) who truly believes she's a Fairy Princess, all evidence to the contrary. She claims her scabby knees are just a hazard of the job, and are due to her flying practice. She's truly a delight. There are currently two books in the series, with another coming out in April, and the fourth in the works. The authors, my writing coach and mentor, Emma Walton Hamilton, and her mother, Julie Andrews, also have another series with a recurring character, the Dumpy the Dump Truck series. I highly recommend both!

Now to hope that my local library has Lottie Paris...

Scott M. Fischer said...

Thank you for this Mary!! I am knee deep and sleep deprived finishing up the second Lottie Paris book this week. This review was just the shot in the arm I needed to make it to the finish line. I have totally fallen in love with this little girl and her world and I am thrilled you have too. It means a lot!

Scott M Fischer

mary kinser said...

You're so welcome Scott! My son and I love love love your book "Jump" (he asks for it every time we go to the library) and so we were thrilled to see that you'd done "Lottie Paris" too. So happy to hear there will be a sequel, can't wait!

MotherReader said...

This title came up on Amazon as I was looking at something else, and I was intrigued as I also like to find good books featuring children of color. With your recommendation I will certainly check out this one! Thanks!

(And glad to hear from the illustrator that there will be more. Yay!)