Lulu’s a fun-loving dog who flunks out of police-dog school only to discover that being herself is the greatest achievement of all.
Though Lulu is shunted into police-dog training because of her good sniffing skills, it quickly becomes clear that she is not a good fit for the work, despite well-meaning intervention and persistent effort. The “free spirit” is simply unable to perform the required doggy tasks. Lulu’s true place is in a home with a family—her handler’s, as it turns out. Throughout, the author is careful not to refer to the playful, happy Lulu in the pejorative—and this may seem a small point at first, but it is really the most important part of this joyful story. The one mention of “failure” is handled carefully: When the police-dog trainer exhorts Lulu to “be more like other dogs? You don’t want to fail, do you?” Lulu despairs, as she “had not known a dog could fail at anything.” Children weighed down by the conformist pressures of school, sports, and other activities will see that there are other ways to find one’s place in the world. The artwork is bright and dynamic, with lots of frenetic doggy movement; Lulu’s handler and her family present black; the police-dog trainer presents white.
Children will cheer for Lulu and learn the importance of being themselves. (Picture book. 4-8)