When a consolation prize at an amusement park lands in the hands of little Lulu, her imagination—along with everything in sight—goes wild.
This book is a visual thrill ride, all vivid colors, lively movement and comic imagery. At an amusement-park booth called the Wizardly World of Wonder, toddler Lulu ends up with a magic wand when her dad fails to win her desired prize, Priscilla, the Fairy Piglet. By the time the wizard realizes his real wand is missing, Lulu has created a balloon tornado, launched the merry-go-round creatures into the air and woken the Screamin’ Dragon roller coaster. When the Octo-Beast begins to shoot laser beams out of its eyes, Lulu’s toddler antics seem more sinister than silly. Richards, author of Jungle Gym Jitters (2004), expertly juggles the over-the-top madness, repeating images and swirls in the rounded balloon figures, the octopus legs, the roller-coaster track and popped-open eyes. The concern lies with the text. It seems to be simply an interpretation of the images, with little to connect the described mayhem with Lulu’s magic wishes. Does her active imagination simply in vision or actually result in her loved ones being eaten by dinosaurs and giant monkeys? Stronger narrative could have launched the visuals even farther.
Ultimately, the book succeeds in exhausting readers, but whether from adventure or from terror rests with the beholder. (Picture book. 4-8)