Lucia, a yellow llama, is a sore loser and a gloating winner, and when you’re the founder and president of the Get Gaming Club, that’s a real problem.
Lucia’s downturned mouth and body language speak volumes when she spies a new sign outside the GGC meeting place: “Try your best / have lots of fun / smile and shake / when the game is done,” a repeated refrain. “I did not approve this sign,” she grumps. Lucia confronts the club members, a diverse array of anthropomorphic animals, but no one admits the truth: that they all contributed. The angry llama tells those who “have a problem with [her] club” that they “can just leave.” None do, but no one has any fun that day, and the next week, the GGC is empty. Lucia goes home to play her games with Grandpa, but he turns the tables and exhibits the behaviors Lucia is notorious for. Lucia reacts as her GGC friends do, but this time she has a rhyme to teach Grandpa how to be a good sport. At an emergency meeting, Lucia apologizes and recites the new club pledge, which readers will have learned by now. Morea’s simple cartoon illustrations keep the focus on the characters’ interactions and their spot-on facial expressions and body language. The pastel palette does little to advance the mood, but it is sunny.
Yes, it’s preachy and has a too-easily-come-by resolution, but for too many kids, it’s a necessary lesson, and the rhyme will stick with readers. (Picture book. 3-7)