March 30, 2015

Lulu’s Mysterious Mission by Judith Viorst, illustrated by Kevin Cornell

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , at 1:42 am by suebe2

Lulu’s Mysterious Mission
by Judith Viorst
illustrated by Kevin Cornell
Atheneum

If you’re looking for a chapter book with a spunky heroine, Lulu is the character for you.  In fact, she’s spunky to the point that she’s a spoiled brat, or, in the words of her babysitter, “an especially difficult child.”

Lulu’s parents decide to take a much-needed break from their little darling but don’t tell her until the day before they plan to leave on vacation.  Lulu is insulted that they have planned to go without her and immediately sets out to ruin their plans.

Fortunately, they have hired the very best.  Lulu has met her match and then some in combat boot wearing Sonia Sofia Solinsky, known by the code name of Triple S.  Not only does Ms. Solinsky keep Lulu from spoiling her parents’ vacation, she actually gets Lulu to cooperate.  Only by cooperating does Lulu get lessons on spy craft.

Lulu learns to repair, to infiltrate and to disguise.  She also gets a mysterious mission complete with a trail of rhyming clues and a prize at the end.  Lulu has such a great time with Ms. Solinsky that she’s actually looking forward to being baby-sat again and getting to go on more missions.  But when Mom and Dad get home, they’ve missed her so much that they swear they will never again leave without her.

Lulu’s next mission?  To convince them that they can and they will.

I’ll admit it — it took me a while to warm up to this story.  Lulu is, in short, a huge brat.  That said, the story is both fun and funny.  Lulu is disguised as a teen boy, a middle-aged woman and even a cow.  She has to see through Ms. Solinsky’s disguises and her mistakes in this area are too funny.

Readers will also enjoy hearing directly from the author.  In this series, Viorst makes a habit of speaking directly to the reader, peppering the reader with both warnings and encouragement to go on.

Cornell’s pencil and water color illustrations do a great job of bringing the characters to life and building on the humor.  I especially enjoyed the reunion scene at the end, between Lulu and her parents.

This book is an excellent format for a reluctant reader.  It is hard cover like a “big kids book” but the font size is fairly large which limits the amount of text per page.  Each page and each chapter becomes something they can easily conquer.  This book would also make a fun read aloud leading to discussions of what might happen next.

–SueBE

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