Lou Lou and Pea are back for a second adventure following series opener Lou Lou & Pea and the Mural Mystery (2016).
Fifth-grade best friends, the white, budding horticulturist Lou Lou (short for Louise) and Latina fashionista Pea (short for Peacock) are thrilled to be helping their neighborhood, El Corazón, host the citywide Bicentennial Bonanza. When the mayor must leave town for a family emergency and the vice mayor takes the reins of the event planning, things go awry. Vice Mayor Argyle, who is a villain straight from vaudeville melodrama with his garish clothing and slick goatee, claims to have discovered the long-lost diary of the city’s founder, and its contents claim that rival neighborhood Verde Valley is the rightful host of the town anniversary fiesta. Lou Lou and Pea set out to prove the diary is a fake and reclaim their neighborhood’s hosting role. The ending is a foregone conclusion, though it takes several chapters longer than necessary to arrive at the destination. Despite the verbosity, silly alliterative names and the fanciful premise seem written for a younger audience than the reading level would suggest. Apart from half-Mexican Pea, Latinx characters appear in several supporting roles, and Spanish vocabulary and location names are sprinkled throughout the text. However, starting with the clunky “Verde Valley” and extending to awkward use of Spanish in dialogue, the feeling is one of a predominantly white culture that has co-opted Latinx culture and language as its own.
Kitschy and tedious. (Mystery. 8-12)