LORETTA by Keith Graves

LORETTA

Ace Pinky Scout
by , illustrated by
Age Range: 4 - 8

KIRKUS REVIEW

Loretta’s goal to be the latest in a long line of perfect Pinky Scouts is foiled by her inability to toast a marshmallow to golden perfection. Other outrageous tasks, like saving the world, bench-pressing 375, and building a snowman atop Mt. Everest are no problem for the plucky scout, but she cringes in shame before a portrait of her grandmother, “The most perfect Pinky ever.” Gran’s portrait, speaking in a gratingly perky manner, declares to the distraught girl, “Well, girlfriend, stinking is part of life,” and confesses that her perfectly knotted bowtie is a clip-on! Not only that, each of Loretta’s ostensibly perfect ancestors all had fatal flaws themselves. Loretta is finally able to sleep well, stating that she likes her marshmallows raw anyway. The message isn’t new, and the snarky smirk on Loretta’s face is perfectly annoying, but Graves (Uncle Blubbafink’s Seriously Ridiculous Stories, 2001, etc.) adds some levity by exaggerating the quest for merit badges among Scouts to the level of caricature. The illustrations portray the perfect ladies, complete with smirks of their own, and Loretta herself with ludicrously large heads and absurdly small bodies, hands, and feet, emphasizing Loretta’s firmly styled braids and upswept bangs and her determined facial expressions as she furiously bench presses and scorches marshmallows. The irritatingly hearty tone is reminiscent of the overly enthusiastic coaches, camp counselors, scout leaders, and peers everyone can recall. Ace Scout Loretta isn’t particularly appealing, but perhaps she’s not meant to be—perfectionism is not a desirable trait, and children may recognize a bit of Loretta in themselves before it gets out of hand. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2002
ISBN: 0-439-36831-6
Page count: 40pp
Publisher: Scholastic
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15th, 2002




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