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Book of the Week: ‘Charlie and Lola: One Thing’ by Lauren Child

September 25, 2015

Why we love it!

This new Charlie and Lola book, the first in five years, will be a real treat for existing fans and a wonderful introduction for kids who are now just old enough to enjoy them.

Charlie and his little sister Lola are going for a walk to the shops. They’ve been told they can choose one thing while there.

Charlie and Lola One Thing cover for WordPress‘One thing EACH, or ONE thing between TWO?’

‘Each.’

The affectionate sibling relationship between Charlie and Lola is just lovely.

Knowledgeable and slightly bossy Charlie describes Lola as ‘small and very funny’ and is mostly incredibly patient with her quirks.

Lola is innocent and vulnerable, and fascinated by the world. She counts the dots on her dress, wonders if ladybirds wear socks, enjoys feeding the birds – and sticks all of her new, carefully-chosen stickers on things before she even makes it home from the shops.

The story is gently humorous and a lot of fun to share, and Child’s stylish illustrations – a blend of different media – are wonderful to explore.

In short, Charlie and Lola: One Thing has everything we love about Lauren Child picture books!

It also gently introduces numeracy concepts. As Charlie and Lola go about their day, Charlie adds up the minutes taken for each task (‘three minutes to clean my teeth, one minute to remember I have forgotten to eat my breakfast, four minutes to eat my puffa pops …’), the pair count the things they see on the way to the shops and the things they buy, and they divide treats between each other.

Lauren-Child-detailThere are numbers on the endpapers of the book and scattered through the illustrations, along with addition and division signs. Charlie holds an apple in each hand to demonstrate ‘one each’ and a photo of a cut apple suggests ‘one to share’. A large watch face counts seconds and minutes.

The overall effect is to render numbers and maths fascinating – they are things to enjoy and have fun with!

One Thing is also very much a book to share. It’s great to read aloud. In fact, Lauren Child always reads her work aloud to herself during the writing process. As she told Lucy Coats of Publishing Talk:

‘Reading stuff out loud is unforgiving – you can’t get away with a badly written sentence.
You have to know why you are using a word and not be self-indulgent.’

And it has loads of parent-appeal:  while Child never breaks from a child’s voice and point of view, mums and dads will smile at the observations of family life, including the effort it takes just to make it out the door, the many stops that are made on the trip to the shops and the negotiation that goes on (Charlie wants ‘one thing EACH’; Lola tries to ask for THREE treats but quickly backs down when offered ‘NO thing’).

We recommend Charlie and Lola: One Thing for kids as young as four, all the way up to eight.

See inside the book and read more about the inspiration behind it.

Buy the book.


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