Loula Is Leaving for Africa

Anne Villeneuve, Author, Anne Villeneuve, Illustrator
Anne Villeneuve. Kids Can, $16.95 (32p) ISBN 978-1-55453-941-3
Reviewed on: 07/15/2013
Release date: 09/01/2013
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Loula’s brothers—“mean, horrible, stinky” triplets—have pushed her too far. She announces that she’s taking off for Africa; her theatrical parents merely smile. Only the family’s chauffeur, Gilbert, understands what Loula really needs, and he squires her through a glorious afternoon of make-believe. “Mademoiselle, look! What luck! Here is a restaurant. Which would you prefer,” he says, offering her cotton candy and an ice cream cone, “Ostrich egg soufflé or a grasshopper sandwich?” They cross the desert (he carries her through a sandbox), go for a camel ride (bouncy playground ducks), and take a paddleboat to a remote island (“It is so quiet,” Loula says contentedly, as they share a cup of “tea” and admire the setting sun). Villeneuve’s (The Red Scarf) ink-and-watercolor vignettes have a deliciously swoopy lightness of touch. Somehow, that Loula is the daughter of rich parents with a chauffeur to drive her around does not rankle; it’s all part of the fancy. The afternoon she and Gilbert share has the innocent sweetness of a ’30s film romance, right to the moment he carries the sleeping explorer into the house. Ages 4–7. (Sept.)
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