All the playground’s a stage for these two pals.
A metafictive introduction to this title finds chipmunk Lulu and red squirrel Bruno breaking the fourth wall to introduce themselves to readers by revealing their respective attributes. Lulu’s imaginative strengths end up being central to both of the ensuing stories—the first about coveting cake and the second about making the best of a timeout punishment. Although he is decidedly less whimsical than his friend, Bruno patiently indulges Lulu’s flights of fancy in both chapters, and Lulu also comes across as the “good friend” she declares herself to be in the introduction as she dreams up play scenarios. The text is delivered almost entirely in color-coded speech-balloon dialogue between the friends (yellow for Lulu to match her hair bow and blue for Bruno to match his glasses). This supports the cartoonish quality of the humorous, digitally rendered art, but some pages end up looking rather cluttered with a surfeit of balloons. The final two pages incorporate the text in the illustrations, presenting the words “THE END” in pebbles in the sandbox, but Bruno intercedes to scratch the word “NOT” above them, suggesting that more squirrely adventures await the friends in future stories.
A playful, comic romp of a book for new readers. (Early reader. 7-9)