Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

LaRue Across America: Postcards From the Vacation

LaRue Across America: Postcards From the Vacation

Mark Teague
Picture Book  Series
For ages 5 to 7
Scholastic, 2011   ISBN: 978-0439915021

Ike LaRue and his owner, Mrs. LaRue, are supposed to be going on a cruise for their vacation. Unfortunately, just before they leave, their neighbor, Mrs. Higgins, is taken ill. Mrs. Higgins has two cats who will need someone to take care of them. Being a good samaritan, Mrs. LaRue offers to take care of the two cats, and since cats are not allowed on the cruise ship, she changes her vacation plan. She, Ike, and the two cats, will take a driving tour instead.

Ike is not at all pleased about this arrangement. In fact, he writes to Mrs. Higgins to share his opinion with her, but the trip proceeds as planned. As he and Mrs. LaRue drive across the country, Ike writes to Mrs. Higgins telling her that the cats are very unhappy and that he would be happy to “put them on the next bus to Snort city.” If they hurry, Ike and Mrs LaRue could still get to the cruise ship before it sails.

Regretfully, Mrs. Higgins does not take Ike up on his offer and the cruise ships sails without Mrs. LaRue and Ike. Poor Ike is feeling much put upon, and he writes to Mrs. Higgins to tell her as much.

When they reach Michigan, Ike begs Mrs. Higgins to put a stop to their trip. “Only you can end this fiasco,” he says, but the trip continues. At every stop, Ike writes to Mrs. Higgins to tell her how badly her cats are behaving and how much he is suffering. Of course, being Ike, he takes a great deal of poetic license in his accounts.

Readers will find it hard not to laugh at the blatant lies that Ike tells in his letters to Mrs. Higgins. They will come to realize that the biggest problem on this vacation is not the cats, but Ike himself. Thankfully, there is a happy ending, and poor Mrs. LaRue is rewarded for her courage and forbearance.

With wonderful illustrations and a hilarious story, this picture book will entertain readers both young and old. Readers who enjoy this book are sure to enjoy the other Ike LaRue titles.