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The Taming of Lola: A Shrew Story

Ellen Weiss, Author, Jerry Smath, Illustrator
Ellen Weiss, Author, Jerry Smath, Illustrator , illus. by Jerry Smath Abrams $15.95 (32p) ISBN 978-0-8109-4066-6
Reviewed on: 01/25/2010
Release date: 03/01/2010
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While the title suggests a retelling of The Taming of the Shrew , the story is one of mutual reconciliation rather than taming per se. Weiss’s story within a story (“Is it about when you were little, Granny?” asks a young shrew in the opening scene. “None of your business. Now quit interrupting”) stars Lola and Lester, two selfish shrew cousins forced into togetherness when Lester comes for a long stay. Smath’s (Sammy Salami ) watercolor spreads use a largely pastel palette, but that’s the only soft note in the visual cacophony that erupts when the willful young ones clash: waving arms, bared teeth, kicking legs, and hand-lettered screams and shouts (“NO!”). Screwball dialogue and banter (“You are bigger than the biggest foo-face that ever lived!”), asides from the narrator, and details about the shrew diet (they eat fleanut butter) combine to keep action and laughs coming. The pacing is even, the goody-goody peacemaking is leavened by the wisecracks, and there’s even a surprise ending. Kids should revel in the rivalry. Ages 4–8. (Mar.)

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