An energetic kid has an energetic day.
A tall, skinny white girl slides gleefully down a bannister, landing atop a tall bear who seems to be her guardian. Bear suggests tea and toast for breakfast, but Lola whips up a feast. At the library, “a little light reading” becomes stacks of books taller than Lola; at the park, Lola and Bear pause—not on a regular bridge but on Claude Monet’s Bridge over a Pond of Water Lilies, inspired by Lola’s newly acquired knowledge of art. The pencil, gouache, and watercolor illustrations are whimsical and breezy, with a lovely airiness that helps give the lie to the piece’s premise. Both the opening lines—“This is Lola. Lola Dutch. Lola Dutch is a little bit much”—and Bear’s repetition of “a little bit much” or variations thereof imply a mischievous or melodramatic Lola. But in a picture-book world founded by Max and Eloise, Lola’s not intense or naughty; she’s merely exuberant. She elegantly re-creates Michelangelo’s The Creation of Adam on her ceiling, adding herself and her friends to it. With a different illustrative style, a child-improvised Sistine Chapel at home could certainly be too “much,” but here it’s neither chaotic nor messy. Given that, the repeated premise chastises and chafes—and implies a call for quieter girls.
Not what it says on the tin. (Picture book. 4-6)