Feisty Lulu sets out to earn some cash in this illustrated chapter book from children’s book legends Judith Viorst and Lane Smith.
The stubbornly hilarious Lulu has decided it’s time to buckle down and earn some cash. How else can she save up enough money to buy the very special thing that she is ALWAYS and FOREVER going to want? After some failed attempts at lucrative gigs (baking cookies, spying, reading to old people), dog walking seems like a sensible choice. But Brutus, Pookie, and Cordelia are not interested in making the job easy, and the infuriatingly helpful neighborhood goody-goody, Fleischman, has Lulu at the end of her rope. And with three wild dogs at the other end, Lulu’s patience is severely tested. Will she ever make a friend—or the money she needs? In this standalone sequel to Lulu and the Brontosaurus, industry legends Judith Viorst and Lane Smith once again prove that even the loudest, rudest, and most obstinate of girls can win us over.
SINCE a kid named Fleischman is going to hang around a whole lot in these pages, I need to tell you right away that Fleischman is not his LAST name but his FIRST name. Fleischman was his mom’s last name before she married his dad and changed HER name to HIS, just like other moms’ last names could be Anderson or Kelly before THEY got married. (Some moms don’t change their last names after they’re married, but I really don’t feel like discussing that right now.) Anyway—stay with me here—some of these used-to-be Kelly moms might decide to first-name their daughters Kelly, and some Anderson moms might first-name their sons Anderson. Or maybe they’d name their sons Kelly and daughters Anderson. And though not too many Fleischman moms decide to name their kids Fleischman, Fleischman’s mom did.
Got it? No? Well, too bad if you don’t. I’m busy, and it’s time to tell my story.
Lulu—remember Lulu?—used to always be a big pain, till she met Mr. B, a lovely brontosaurus. Now she is just a sometimes pain, and not nearly as rude as before. But unless what she wants is utterly, totally, absolutely, and no-way-José impossible, she’s still a girl who wants what she wants when she wants it.
So, what is it, exactly, that our Lulu wants? Right now I’m just saying it costs a lot of money. Furthermore, her mom and her dad, who give her almost everything she asks for, said to her—with many sighs and sorries—that they couldn’t afford to buy it for her and that she would HAVE TO EARN THE MONEY TO GET IT.
Lulu thought about throwing one of her famous screeching, heel-kicking, arm-waving tantrums, except that—since her last birthday—she wasn’t doing that baby stuff anymore. So, instead, she tried some other ways—politer, quieter, sneakier, grown-upper ways—of changing their minds.
First try: “Why are you being so cruel to me, to your only child, to your dearest, darlingest Lulu?”
“We’re not being cruel,” her mom explained in an I’m-so-sorry voice. “You’re still our dearest and darlingest. But we don’t have the money to spend on things like that.”
Second try: “I’ll eat only one meal a day and also never go to the dentist, and then you can use all that money you saved to buy it for me.”
“Dentists and food are much more important,” Lulu’s dad explained, “than this thing that you want. Which means”—and here he sighed heavily—“that if you really still want it, you’re going to have to pay for it yourself.”
Really still want it? Of course she really still wanted it! She was ALWAYS and FOREVER going to want it. But paying for it herself—that might be utterly and totally, plus absolutely and no-way-José, impossible. So she kept on trying to change their minds, making her saddest and maddest and baddest faces and giving her mom and her dad some unbeatable arguments. Like, “I’ll move down into the basement, and you’ll get the money by renting out my bedroom.” Or, “You could get money by selling our car and taking the bus instead, which would also be much better for the environment.” But, great as her arguments were, her mom and her dad kept saying no and sighing and sorrying. And after her sixteenth or seventeenth try, Lulu was starting to feel a little discouraged.
Last try: “So, while all the other kids are playing and laughing and having fun, I’ll be the only kid my age earning money?”
“Oh, I don’t know about that,” said Lulu’s mom. “That little Fleischman down the street is always earning money by doing helpful chores for folks in the neighborhood. So young and already such a hard-working boy!”
(Well, what do you know, here’s Fleischman, and it’s only Chapter One. I told you he would be hanging around a lot.)
Judith Viorst is the author of the beloved Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, which has sold some four million copies; the Lulu books, including Lulu and the Brontosaurus; the New York Times bestseller Necessary Losses; four musicals; and poetry for children and young adults. Her most recent books of poetry include What Are You Glad About? What Are You Mad About? and Nearing Ninety.
Lane Smith is the author-illustrator of Grandpa Green and the illustrator of The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales, both Caldecott Honor winners. His books have appeared on the New York Times Best Illustrated list four times, and several of his books, including It’s a Book and John, Paul, George & Ben, have been New York Times bestsellers. He lives with book designer Molly Leach in rural Connecticut, and can be visited at LaneSmithBooks.com.
“The second hilarious episode to feature feisty Lulu (Lulu and the Brontosaurus, 2010), who almost always gets what she wants…. Smith’s droll illustrations interspersed throughout the text add to the humor and developing conflict…the short, funny chapters, over-the-top characters and engaging artwork will give this one plenty of appeal, especially to kids just venturing into chapter-book territory.”
—Kirkus Reviews, July 15, 2012
“Lulu still has a world-class case of self-absorption, but her arguing skills have matured a bit since Lulu and the Brontosaurus…. This extended comic fable is rife with authorial intrusion: Viorst ensures that readers are having fun, getting the point, and noticing her fictional ploys (“In actual life this almost never could happen. In the stories I write, things like this happen a lot. Deal with it”). Fortunately, these asides really are funny. Smith is in fine form with his pencil illustrations, especially the caricatures of Lola’s three canine charges—“bigheaded, bad-breathed brute” Brutus, “teeny-tiny white fuzzball” Pookie, and elusive German-comprehending dachshund Cordelia—and the owners they resemble.”
—Horn Book Magazine, September/October 2012
"Viorst’s narrator-heroine, enjoying a fresh turn after “Lulu and the Brontosaurus,” is full of ‘tude and doesn’t care if you don’t like it. A child of entitlement, Lulu is nonetheless told she needs to earn money for her latest heart’s desire. Dog walking teaches her a lesson. Lulu feels like a cousin of, and a step up the chapter book ladder in difficulty from, Junie B. Jones. Smith’s sharp-eyed charcoals add kick."
– New York Times Book Review Children's Bookshelf, September 16, 2012
“In this sequel to Lulu and the Brontosaurus (S & S, 2010), the incorrigible Lulu, oft indulged by her parents, is desperate for ways to make money to pay for a mysterious something that they absolutely cannot afford…hilarious narration with much editorial wisecracking and frequent asides directed to readers. The story moves along quickly, variations in page layout and typeface add interest, and Smith’s stylized black-and-white drawings are a big part of the fun. A perfect choice for transitional readers.”