Friday, June 28, 2013

The Mighty Lalouche

Well, Friday has arrived again.  I have to say that I have been a little disapointed at the dearth of good picture books this year.  I have been struggling to find recomendations worthy of your time.  However, the last few weeks has seen some new releases that are registering quite high on my excitement meter.  Oh, happy day.  

The book I am profiling this week was a bit of a surprise for me.  I didn't know I would like it so much, or that my kids would gravitate to it the way they did.  I think the combination of history and charm made this one a winner in my house (even my fourteen year old son was found reading this one in his room, multiple times!  But we aren't allowed to speak of it.)

Title:       The Mighty Lalouche

Author:    Mathew Olshan

Target:     Kindergarten-Grade 3

What this book is about:
Lalouche was a postman in Paris in the early 1900s.  He was small and skinny, nimble and strong. and he loved his job.  However, when the Paris post office decides to use the new fangled electric autocars to deliver the mail, Lalouche is out of a job.  He takes the improbably position as a sparing partner at the Bastille Boxing Club. where he finds all his attributes make him quite a competent competitor.  Will he enjoy his new found career and fame, or will the call of the mail draw him back?

Why I love this book:
I can’t say the premise of this book made me pick it up.  What made me pick it up are the gorgeous illustrations by Sophie Blackall which are absolutely charming and innovative.  I am so glad the pictures lured me in, because the story is equally charming and innovative.  I just love it when the illustrations and the words seem so perfectly matched that you know they were of one mind on this concept.

While the story is about a postman and boxing, strangely enough it is an extremely unisex book.  Some of that is in the color scheme (the boxer Anaconda is in pink striped tights after all) and the cutouts used which make the illustrations seem less masculine, but also the story is of the underdog Lalouche and boys and girls will be rooting for him.  

One last thing I want to mention are the illustrations on the inside front and back covers.  I love it when authors and illustrators use this space to add more to the story, and in the case of this book they have printed the sports cards of the other boxers here.  My kids and I had so much fun reading about all the boxer’s attributes.  The Pointillist disappears close up, The Piston is often oily, how great is that?

Who this book is for:
Fun for most kids, but it is most fun when they are old enough to enjoy some of the history and photographs the author included in the back of the book to show French boxing and autocars in the early 1900s.

Final thoughts:
The Mighty Lalouche is a knockout (I know, cliche. but I really loved this book!)

To purchase this book, click on the following link to connect to Amazon: The Mighty Lalouche  A portion of each purchase goes to support this blog at no cost to you!

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