cover image Lulu Atlantis and the Quest for True Blue Love

Lulu Atlantis and the Quest for True Blue Love

Patricia Martin, , illus. by Marc Boutavant. . Random/Schwartz & Wade, $15.99 (228pp) ISBN 978-0-375-84016-6

Lulu Atlantis from Sweet Pea Lane, with a baby brother and a dad off saving extinct animals like the Double-Eyed Fig Parrot, confides her troubles to her best friend, Harry. So what if Harry is a talking spider in a top hat whom no one else can see? He offers good advice, reminding a skeptical Lulu that “to find True Blue Love, you would not have to search beyond your own backyard.” It’s no surprise that the adventures in these four linked stories leave Lulu with the realization that she is already enmeshed in everyday scrumptious love—the fun percolates within Martin’s (Travels with Rainie Marie ) flavorful storytelling. Lulu, responding to the arrival of the baby, takes Harry and runs away. In a woods “as bleak as a midwinter midnight,” they encounter a skunk who calls Lulu “kiddo” and “girlie”; when she asks for advice, he says, “I’m a skunk, not a magician, I don’t got all the answers”—then tells her precisely what to do. Subsequent run-ins involve three gangster bakers (Scarecrow, Lefty-Righty Louie and Jimmy Creamcheese) and Princess Fancy the diabolical cat. Martin winningly deviates from the narrative with descriptive interjections: “Please understand, Farmer Wallenhaupt’s Frog Pond was not a pond as most people imagine a pond to be. It was filled with silver water whose droplets slid about like mercury.” The scenarios are whimsical; the emotions run true. Ages 7-11. (Jan.)