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Unicorn in New York: Louie in a Spin Paperback – 2 Feb 2017
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Praise for Louie Lets Loose: 'A quirky and fun story for those just moving on from traditional picture books' (- TheBookBag blog)
Praise for Louie Lets Loose: 'terrifically funny and wonderfully absurd' (Alex Milway, This Book is Funny)
Praise for Louie Lets Loose: 'a laugh-out loud gem ... Read it and giggle' (Minerva Reads blog)
It's time for this unicorn to shine!
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Louie may not look to be a natural ballerina, but he definitely is not lacking in sheer enthusiasm for the task at hand. The reader cannot help but be caught up in the whirlwind of excitement as they follow Louie in this latest adventure.
It is written in an easy-read style, perfect for those just moving on to chapter books. There are illustrations scattered throughout, which liven it up, as well as some photographs. I think that the book is aimed at children aged 7 and above, but my daughter would have easily read this at 5, so do base it upon your own child's reading abilities. My daughters read it in a very short space of time, and then bemoaned the fact that it was over already, so if I had one gripe it would be the story length was a little on the short side.
Overall, though, a great little tale for young readers.
In this story, Madame Swirler is training everyone for a dancing competition. Louie is hoping for a chance to audition but the only unicorn accepted for the ballet category is Arnie and Louie is not chosen for Hip Hop, Tap, Modern Dance or Disco either… Is Louie facing disappointment, or is he destined to shine? Louie often misunderstands the world around him, but he is just so nice that you really want to cheer him on. I would say the story is pitched at about 7 – 9 years old and will appeal to both boys and girls.
Unusually for a kids’ book, stepping into the series at Book 3 without having read the first two books was very confusing. Normally characters are re-introduced well enough so that new readers can tag along, but that isn’t the case here. I ended up having to fill in the gaps with my daughter, with explanations and assumptions on things as fundamental to the story as “is Louie actually any good at dancing?” It’s implied, rather than actually made clear. So if you are tempted by the Louie series, it would seem that starting at book 1 is important.
There are Americanisms and details of specific ballet moves which are dropped into the text without any explanation. For a young reader doing it for themselves, parts of this would be pretty challenging; however any child old enough to read this for themselves is likely to feel rather patronised by the story itself, a very familiar and disappointingly joke-light “work hard and practice to reach your goals” affair.
There’s enough drama and a little bit of slapstick that keeps you interested enough to get to the end, and the illustrations are more intriguing than they are pretty or helpful, so I certainly wouldn’t call it awful. But there are plenty of childrens’ books that have tackled the same ingredients that are used here, but to better or more laugh-out-loud effect. Louie was not, unfortunately, much of a hit in our house.
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