Try, try, and try again, even if you don’t succeed.
Lou, a girl with brown skin, and her diverse band of friends—a redheaded white boy, two brown girls, and a loyal cat companion—enjoy brave adventures. Together, they outrun airplanes, build mighty fortresses, and rescue wild animals. When her friends suggest they play pirates and use the tree as their pirate ship, they, without hesitation, climb up and aboard. All but Lou. Her friends encourage and reassure her. “It will be an adventure,” which Lou loves, but her fear and lack of experience are real and get in the way. Attempting to avoid climbing that tree, she gives myriad reasons: her arm is sore, the cat needs a walk, she stepped on a slug and his funeral is in five minutes, she found out she is part fish and needs to be in water to survive, and so on. She finally admits to her friends that she cannot climb a tree. Lou inventively imagines alternate ways of joining her mateys in the branches: a trampoline, a pole vault, or a helicopter. Then a cry for help encourages Lou to put on her eye patch and climb aboard. Up, up, up. To readers’ amusement, she makes it nowhere and falls a short distance to the ground. No matter: her friends find a different game all can play. To accompany her third-person narration and dialogue, Spires, known for the Binky graphic novels, uses clean, simple illustrations to envision various amusing scenarios. Unfortunately, Lou’s excuses are more interesting than the story, which ends on a flat, moral note.
While it offers a valuable lesson, it’s not a terribly eventful or memorable book. (Picture book. 3-7)