The Read Balloon: Charlie and Lola is our Favorite and Our Best

great kids' booksI know, I know — I’ve already written about the Charlie and Lola books and how much Harper adores them. Well guess what? She’s still obsessed. That last Charlie and Lola post was almost a year ago, people. That’s nearly a third of Harper’s life. Still, we search for a new book every time we visit the library so that we can rush home and curl up with cups of pink milk and tear through them. She and Ollie were Charlie and Lola for Halloween (her idea).  And for Christmas, we actually acquired some Charlie and Lola books of our own. (Thanks, Grandma!)

Here’s what I think is funny. So, on the one hand, we have I am Not Sleepy and I Will Not Go to Bed. This is one of Lauren Child’s original books, and I couldn’t love it more. Lola is such a zany nut, and her excuses why she can’t go to bed are absolutely amazing, and as always Charlie is so sweet and patient with her. To me, this book’s superiority is evident. The original Charlie and Lolas are just terrific — I love Slightly Invisible despite how long it becomes on the 82nd read, and I Will Never Not Ever Eat a Tomato is brilliant — green drops from Jupiter! — I Am Too Absolutely Small For School is great, too. I love me some Soren Lorenson.

i am not sleepy and i will not go to bed

Charlie and Lola in I Am Not Sleepy and I Will Not Go To Bed, aka The Harper T. Story.

The illustrations in the original Lauren Child books are a bit scratchier, sketchier, and less cutesie-cute somehow (their eyes? something’s different) than the cartoon-based spinoffs which proliferate in our library book stacks like so many bunny crackers in the bottom of the diaper bag. So, yes, this book is awesome, and especially for my child who says, every night, without fail, often while yawning, “I’m not sleepy. I’m going to stay up alllll night.”

Then, on the other hand, we also now have a copy of My Best Best Friend. This is one of the cartoon spinoffs, and in my mind the difference could not be clearer. The illustrations are a bit neater, the colors smoother and more computery, and the dialogue not as funny. The story of a best friend worried about a new friend and feeling left out, I mean, come on, I just read that Fancy Nancy with the exact same theme. It’s so ordinary. And of course, Harper LOVES it. She has it memorized already, really. She’s obsessed with the idea of best friends. She loves the part where Lola feels left out. She extra-loves Charlie’s friend Marv, who I think she has a little crush on. Anyway, of course I’m glad she loves it. I’m glad she continues to love this series. There are just so many of them! And even the worst of them isn’t – shudder -Dora.

Somehow we have made it this long without Harper learning about the cartoon version of Charlie and Lola. I’m sure it’s adorable, but I love how she’s made these characters her own. Just tonight she grabbed my hand and said, “You’re my best, best friend!” My heart was about to melt when she added, “Lola! And I’m Lotta!” At least I got to be Lola.

(PS: While we’re on the subject of Charlie and Lola…how awesome is this Charlie and Lola dollhouse?!)

6 responses to “The Read Balloon: Charlie and Lola is our Favorite and Our Best

  1. The DIY dollhouse is fabulous. Maybe TOO fabulous. Maybe that woman has the same disease Mary Hatch Bailey had…

  2. We are Charlie and Lola mad here–they’re adorable. I want to get a weiner dog so I can name his Sizzles!

  3. Pingback: Happy Sibling Propaganda | household words – amy shearn and her blog.

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