on 17 May 2001
Charlie has a little sister called Lola and, like many small children, Lola has a long list of foods that she doesn't like. So, when Charlie has to feed her dinner, he resorts to tricking her into eating things that she will not eat - ever! Great illustrations, fantastic characters and a situation that all parents (and children) can identify with. My four year old son absolutely adores the story and is now more willing to try food that he would never touch before - it was worth buying the book just for that! I really like Lauren Child's characters - not too cute, vibrant and enthusiastic. My son requests this story more than any other and really loves the author's other books too - thank you for something different!
on 27 February 2005
Charlie's sister Lola is a very fussy eater. She will *not* eat peas, carrots, potatoes, mushrooms and most other foods.
In this story, Charlie is left in charge of Lola at dinner time. He tricks her into eating by pretending that carrots are actually 'orange twiglets from Jupiter', etc. In this way, he manages to get Lola to eat all her food, even her moonsquirters (tomatoes).
I really enjoyed this book and think that mums and dads could copy these tricks for their children!
on 28 January 2002
As I was babysitting my 4 year old nephew at Christmas, and he is a fussy eater, I thought this would be a good 'story for bedtime'. I must admit when I previewed it before his visit I thought some of the illustrations were a little odd, but these 'oddities' were the parts that drew his attention the most. The author obviously knows what's going on in a childs mind. It made my babysitting an extremely enjoyable experience, so much so that I'm doing it again very soon, with the help of the next book entitled 'I am not sleepy and I will not go to bed'. Keep them coming please Lauren!
Many young children don't like tomatoes. Some retain that distaste into adulthood. This story shows that stated fussiness about food can simply be a way of getting attention. Parents: Pay attention to this story! The colorful collages of photographs and childlike drawings bring excitement and freshness to the story.
Lola is a "small and very fussy" eater. Charlie is assigned by their parents to feed Lola.
Lola begins to expound her theories:
"carrots are for rabbits"
"peas are too small and too green"
Lola goes on to list peas, carrots, potatoes, mushrooms, spaghetti, eggs, sausages, cauliflower, cabbage, baked beans, bananas, and oranges as banned items. She also notes her reservations about apples, rice, cheese, and fish sticks. "And I absolutely will never not ever eat a tomato." Sounds like peanut butter and jelly are coming up to me.
Then Charlie attacks directly by putting out some carrots. Lola looks at them and says, "Then why are those carrots there, Charlie?"
"Those are orange twiglets from Jupiter," says Charlie.
"Mmm, not bad," Lola replied, "and took another bite."
Charlie puts out peas and describes them as "green drops from Greenland" and Lola finds them "quite tasty."
Mashed potatoes become "cloud fluff from the pointiest peak of Mount Fuji," and Lola decides "I love to eat clouds."
Fish sticks become "ocean nibbles from the supermarket under the sea -- mermaids eat them all the time." Lola wants to know if she can have more.
Suddenly Lola turns the tables, "Charlie, will you pass me one of those?" Lola continued, "Yes, of course, moonsquirters are my favorite." "You didn't think they were tomatoes, did you, Charlie?"
Obviously, Lola knows that they are playing a game, and she likes it. The new game seems like more fun than laying down the law about what she will and won't eat. The game puts her in charge by letting her name the foods, as well as her usual game of saying what she will not eat. Charlie makes room for Lola to assert herself, and all is well.
With children, there is a tendency to treat them like subjects of a King or a Queen. Actually, they feel quite grown up at a young age and want to have some autonomy. Choice of foods can simply be a testing of limits. But all children would rather have fun, and can easily be distracted by making the potential confrontation into a game, instead. This book eloquently makes that point, and ensures many more peaceful hours in many households.
After you finish reading the story, you should think about where else you can kid your child out of her or his bad mood. Come to think of it, when will that approach work with adults as well?
Look for the potential to improve every communication!
on 13 March 2004
This story depicts a fastidious sister and her witty brother. Lola is Charlie's little sister; she is always fussy about her food. It is hard for Charlie to give Lola her dinner, because she can always find some ludicrous or comical reason to refuse to eat anything she dislikes. One day, Charlie played a trick on Lola. Charlie with his excellent eloquence persuaded Lola to eat some of the food that she would not normally ever taste.
Vivid similes and evidence of a vast imagination is found in this amusing book. This is helpful for young children to cultivate their creative thinking.Generally speaking, the text is delightful. You can try to read aloud slowly the words for things that Lola hates to eat, in order to enhance the fun by the way you read them. Through the conversations between Charlie and Lola, we can see Charlie's trickery is successful.
Vibrant illustrations are a perfect match for this funny story. Different forms of typographical characters and the winding layout of sentences aptly reflect the character of Lola and Charlie. However, when I read this book the first time, I was really surprised at the illustrations, because some of them are drawings and some of them are photographs. Although sometimes the drawings and photographs are a little bit quirky, they are well suited to the text.
This book is suitable both for children and for adults who have to deal with fussy eaters for whom the book gives ideas to imitate, in a way that will make them laugh!
on 4 January 2004
This story of Charlie's search for a food that his younger sister Lola will eat is absolutely charming, written and illustrated with wit and understanding. Adults and children alike will enjoy seeing real toddler behaviour subtly exaggerated. Young children may be helped to view their own behaviour more objectively, while older children will sympathise with Charlie's sense of responsibility for a difficult (but imaginative and never malicious) younger sibling.
on 4 May 2007
As the (now BBC-powered) Charlie and Lola juggenaut rolls on it is worth remembering that this is where it all started.
A deserving winner of the prestigious Kate Greenaway medal for 'distinguished illustration in a book for children' this book would nevertheless not work nearly as well without the author's uncanny ability to get inside a child's mind and wrap the result in such disarmingly charming prose.
The story is narrated in the first person by Charlie establishing a very firm child's perspective from the outset. Additionally the absence of adults from the storyline other than by reference (a la the famous 'Peanuts' strips by Charles Schultz) serves to seal the story almost hermetically into a children's world allowing them to explore, seemingly without inhibition, this often angst-ridden theme.
I must have read this story to Alice (now 3 1/2) over a hundred times over the last three years, and despite her having watched it countless times on DVD as well there seems to be no end in sight for its run of popularity.
If you want Charlie and Lola in book form this is absolutely the place to start. If you like this I would also recommend "I Am Not Sleepy and I Will Not Go To Bed" and "I Am Too Absolutely Small For School". The books that follow are reverse-engineered from the scripts of the TV episodes (and not even written by Lauren Child!) and in my opinion do not work well in book form, becoming tediously repetitive "Lola says ... so I say ..., so Lola says ..." etc. ad nauseam.
on 28 August 2003
I brought this book for my children 2 years ago,when they were aged 4 and 2 and they stil love it now.
Great story line about a fussy eater and how she is encoraged to eat by her brother charlie who pretends mash potatoes are cloud fluff and carrots are orange twiglets etc.also has lovely pictures.Can't wait for the next book to be released about lola and Charlie.
There aren't many bad things about having more than one child. The prospect of repeated re-reads of the same stories that the last child has just grown out of (in our case, I guess it was probably the Usborne "Apple Tree Farm" books) is one minor negative.
However, Charlie and Lola appeared after the birth of our last child, and so we were able to add these books to our bookshelf. Lauren Child's illustrations are utterly charming, and the text captures the "special" spoken form of a cheeky pre-schooler ("I will never not ever eat a tomato!").
This book is about Lola's fussy eating habits, which her brother Charlie manages to overcome with the sort of subterfuge that will be familiar to many a parent (we managed to persuade a child to eat tuna and pasta by telling her it was tuna and conchiglie, which was at least true!).