A quirky and fun story for those just moving on from traditional picture books.
Louie’s parents are worried when Louie announces he wants to leave home to enrol at the New York School of Performing Arts. He’s a unicorn and they can’t believe he’ll be happy without the sunlit meadows, enchanted waterfalls and beautiful maidens of Story Land. But, like all good parents, they accept that Louie must make his own way in the world. Luckily Louie always looks for the positive in life – a skill that’s going to prove essential when he arrives in New York.
Louie Lets Loose! is the first in a new chapter book series. I’m confident that young readers will quickly warm to Louie and will enjoy his quirky adventures at school in the city. For example, I’m guessing they’ll love the way Louie uses his horn to punch the holes in doughnuts when he finds he can’t pay for the cupcakes he’s just eaten. And they’ll definitely adore reading about Louie’s new friends, especially Frank, the belching troll, and Danny, a faun who’s can’t see where he is going because he’s lost his glasses.
I think some of the humour will go over the intended audience’s head. For example, when he arrives, Louie is delighted to find all the cars and taxis in New York beeping their horns and hooting at him to celebrate his arrival: he particularly enjoys the way the drivers all get out of their cars to wave their fists to show they would really like to welcome him with tambourines. However, I’m not sure it matters if child readers do fail to spot all of Louie’s errors as there is still plenty for them to enjoy.
The story itself is well structured with short chapters and simple clear language that is suitable for emerging readers. The pictures are a wonderful combination of cartoon drawings of Louie and real photographs. My only minor disappointment was I had a proof copy which didn’t contain all the artwork. I may just have to take myself down to the bookshop or library to check out the published version!
Overall, this is a quirky and fun story for those just moving on from traditional picture books and I suspect it is going to become a popular series.
If you enjoyed this, you might also like to try My Funny Family Gets Funnier by Chris Higgins and Lee Wildish or Lily and the Christmas Wish by Keris Stainton.
Date: February 2016
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Author’s Website: Rachel Hamilton
Review first published on The Bookbag