Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Withering Tights

Withering Tights

Louise Rennison
Fiction  Series
For ages 14 and up
HarperCollins, 2011   ISBN: 978-0061799310

Tallulah Casey is thrilled because for five wonderful weeks she is going to be free to pursue her ambitions to become an artist. Of some kind. She is going to a town called Heckmondwhite to attend a summer program for teens who are keen on becoming dancers, musicians, actors, or artists. The program is hosted at Dother Hall, a performing arts college. She hopefully will not only tap into her artistic self, but she will also get to meet some boys. Are there any boys who like tall flat chested girls who have “nobbly kneecaps?” Well, she hopes to find at least one at Dother Hall who does.

Tallulah soon discovers that Heckmondwhite, which is in Yorkshire and is surrounded by moors, is not a very interesting place. It certainly does not have the “cosmopolitan atmosphere” that was described in the Dother Hall brochure. Nor does Dother Hall have any boys. No boys? How is Tallulah going to get to know any boys if there are no boys enrolled at the art college?

As it turns out, there are boys around because the Woolfe Academy for Young Men is nearby. There are also the local “lads,” though Tallulah finds them more than a little intimidating. Though Dother Hall is boyless, Tallulah soon makes friends with some of the girls who are attending the summer school.  They don’t mind that Tallulah has long gangly legs and that she does not seem to have much artistic ability. Tallulah does though. Could it be that all her dreams about becoming a star were gravely misplaced? Could it be that she, Tallulah, has no artistic ability at all?

Readers will find it very hard not to laugh out loud as Tallulah stumbles and trips from one misadventure to another. She is loveable and often ridiculous, and the situations that she gets into are memorable. One cannot help hoping that she will find her way, and that she will be able to prove to everyone, including herself, that she has what it takes to be a “star of the stage.”

This is the first title in what promises to be an outrageously funny new series.