Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Lulu and the Duck in the Park

Lulu and the Duck in the Park

Hilary McKay
Illustrator:  Priscilla Lamont 
Fiction  Series
For ages 6 to 8
Albert Whitman & Company, 2012   ISBN: 978-0807548080

Lulu is a little girl who has many skills that she could be famous for. She can eat a whole apple leaving only the stem and seeds, and she can jump off a swing when it is at its highest point in the air. Though these are certainly famous-worthy things, what she is really famous for is her love of animals. Everyone knows that Lulu loves animals, and she has an uncanny ability to understand what they need, which means that she knows how to take care of them.

Lulu’s love for animals has led to her bringing home all kinds of creatures. Luckily for her, Lulu’s mother believes in “The More, the Merrier,” and so Lulu has all kinds of pets that she takes care of. Lulu loves animals so much that she cannot understand people who don’t have animals in their lives. Lulu’s teacher, Mrs. Holiday, is just such a person. She does not like animals at all. Any animals.

Convinced that Mrs. Holiday simply hasn’t met the right animal, Lulu tries to expose her teacher to all kinds of creatures. She shows her teacher photos of snails, and one Monday she even goes so far as to bring her dog to class. When Lulu suggests that the class guinea pig needs a friend because it is lonely, Mrs. Holiday makes it clear that she will not tolerate having any more animals in her classroom. It is bad enough that she has to put up with one guinea pig. If anyone dares to bring another animal to Class Three, Mrs. Holiday will trade the class guinea pig for the Class Two stick insects.

Every Tuesday the children of Class Three walked to the local pool, and on their way back to the school they stop at the park to have a snack. On this particular Tuesday, the day after Mrs. Holiday makes guinea pig threat, the children are in the park when two dogs run into the park and start to chase the ducks that live there. By the time the dogs are caught by their owner, ducks have been traumatized, duck eggs have been smashed, and ducklings have been lost. The sorrowful children leave the park and no one, except for Lulu’s cousin Mellie, notices when Lulu picks up the only egg left. Lulu puts the egg in her pocket.

Lulu now has to take care of the egg and that turns out to be a big responsibility. Somehow she manages to hide the fact that she has an egg (wrapped in two hats) stuffed up the front of a her sweater. With Mellie’s help Lulu keeps her egg a secret, and then something happens and the secret is no longer a secret.

Children who have a fondness of animals are going to love meeting Lulu and her cousin Mellie. The interplay between Lulu, who love animals, and her teacher, who dislikes animals, is both engaging and amusing. This is the first book in a new series, and readers can look forward to more Lulu titles in the coming months.