A tale about the transformative power of imagination and self-confidence.
Liesel loves visiting Grandma Rose because adventure is never more than the clutch of her grandmother’s old ladle away. Today, the ladle and Liesel’s imagination take her to an island that’s simultaneously inhabited by pirates, terrorized by a dragon, and threatened by an active volcano. She’s determined to save the day, and indeed she does, at least temporarily: She plugs the active volcano with a gigantic coconut, preventing it from erupting. However, the obstacles in her path are disappointingly one-dimensional, as the pirate captain and dragon who question what a “wee girl” like Liesel is capable of both back down quickly once she asserts that “THERE’S NOTHING WEE ABOUT ME!” The text’s repetition of the word “wee” feels out of place within the contemporary setting and in the face of Liesel’s confidence. Similarly, Liesel’s choice of a ladle, of all things, could imply either a reinforcement or a reclaiming of spaces and tools stereotypically associated with women. Grandma Rose’s somewhat dismissive attitude of Liesel’s confidence suggests that her choice of a ladle is less than radical. While the text often tells rather than shows, the soft, sketchy illustrations actively support the text by providing additional visual information. The three human characters all have pale skin and light-colored hair while the island residents appear as anthropomorphic lions, pigs, rabbits, chickens, and turtles.
An overall unremarkable entry in the growing number of picture books championing girl power. (Picture book. 4-8)