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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
Format: Paperback|Change
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on 26 March 2017
One of the best and a firm favourite in our house. Loved by children and parents
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on 6 April 2017
Ideal for child starting school
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on 20 May 2017
My little girl loves Charlie and Lola and this will be the first of many books we'll be buying.
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Generally just on the right side of twee, the tremendously fashionable Lauren Child follows up picky eating and bedtime routines with the popular theme of starting school. This was back in the old days, before the TV show, when Child was still writing the stories herself. Now she just 'originates' them (and, for this parent at least, the idiosyncracies of language are starting to wear dangerously thin...)

Too Small for School is a lovely book, though. Once you get past that obligatory opening paragraph ('I have this little sister Lola...) which always makes my daughter roll her eyes in annoyance, it's a non-stop collage-fest with the usual wacky features. The Charlie and Lola books always encourage interaction - here there are photos of biscuits (for your child to choose their favourite), and numbered fingers and toes (bound to get most children counting their own)... even Japanese fridge magnets (that my daughter is thrilled to recognise from Mummy's half-baked attempts at learning the language). This book is cooler than cool.

It's frightfully middle class, of course, with Charlie and Lola attending a hip and happening school where there's no such thing as a 'schooliform' (not much help for all those children forced to wear regulation grey, of course). Lola's invisible friend Soren Lorenson makes an 'appearance' though (well, sort of) to great effect (with even a shadowy lunch box on his side of the table). It's this kind of cutesy touch that makes Lauren Child the star she is. On the downside, though, I was at a restaurant the other day, and they'd inserted a completely gratuitous 'absolutely' into the kids' menu (well, it was 'absolutley', actually, which is even worse). Lauren Child might just have a lot to answer for!
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on 3 October 2004
Few of the books I give to children at the primary school where I work to have a look at have proved as popular as Lauren Child's, which stand out because of the wonderfully creative illustrations and the wit of the dialogue.
A return of Charlie and Lola from 'I Will Never Not Ever Eat a Tomato' (still the best in the series) is welcome with Charlie trying to persuade Lola of the worthwhile-ness of going to school and conquering all-too-common fears, with varying degrees of success. A good one for a parent or teacher faced with that situation, though perhaps not all Charlie's answers are so convincing...
Usually popular with children from Reception to Year 4 (5-8 years old) or perhaps older children still wary about longer books. Most grown-ups will enjoy reading it.
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VINE VOICEon 24 April 2011
Charlie and Lola are brother and sister and in this book Charlie is convincing Lola about the benefits of going to school but Lola thinks she is too extremely busy doing things at home!

Lola is truly adorable and other than the more obvious talking points regarding preparing young children for school there are other positive and more subtle ideas such as Lola's reluctance to be the same as everyone else.

Wonderful text and illustrations, highly recommended!
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on 16 July 2012
Having managed to convince his little sister Lola to eat up her dinner and go to bed, Charlie is now facing the thorny issue of going to school. As usual, Lola can come up with endless reasons why she should not do this particular thing and Charlie has to use all his powers of persuasion to convince her otherwise.

Young fans of Charlie and Lola are sure to love this next instalment, with its quirky illustrations and childish logic. Lola's imaginary friend, Soren Lorenson, also makes an appearance, so you can have fun searching for him in some of the pictures.

Even though school is still a little way off for my daughter, we have had great fun reading this book together.

This review refers to the paperback edition of 'I am TOO absolutely small for school' published by Orchard Books in 2007.
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on 16 June 2004
my boys and i love this book. It deals with in a funny lighthearted way with anxieties in attending school for the first time as well as with the relationship between a little free-thinking sister and an older brother who is growing up and taking his role as big brother seriously.
It is essentially the conversation between Lola, who is going to be attending school for the first time although she is not convinced she should- as she is "too absolutely small to go to school" - and her brother charlie who tries to persuade Lola that it will be just fine. As Charlie puts forward the advantages in schooling - Lola is beginning to consider the prospect in a different light.The winning argument is ,however, regarding Soren Lorenson - her imaginary friend (who appears in the pictures cleverly illustrated so as only to appear on closer scrutiny of the page). Soren Lorenson will be going to school, says Charlie, so who will keep him company?
The story is both funny and thoughtful. One of Lola's concerns is that she does not wish to wear a "schooliform". Charlie tells her that at their school they may wear whatever they wish - so promptly Lola quick as a flash appears in her alligator outfit as her chosen outfit for school. It is thoughtful in the way it puts across Lola's anxieties about school - Lola expresses her worries about school by projecting them onto Soren in a way that children do, which is very endearing.
The characters really come to life through their lines and the beautiful wild imaginative and original illustrations. Lola is a free independent and colourful spirit who speaks her mind and dresses exactly as she wishes. Charlie is caring and takes his role as the bigger brother seriously - he is trying to act sensible and grown-up but knows that in dealing with Lola he has to resort to some pretty imaginative arguments - how will she know how to feed eleven elephants if she only knows how to count to ten? Then having acted all mature and reassuring for his sister - he gets worried when he does not see her at school - only to discover that of course Lola had a great first day and as she herself says she was never worried - it was Soren Lorenson. In an utterly charming way Lauren Child has succeeding in portraying children in a way which is true, real and does them justice. Funnily enough my youngest boy aged 2.5 years will not go to pre-school in the morning unless he has "Lola" (as he refers to the book) with him in his bag.
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on 29 September 2003
Myself and my class of 6 and 7 year olds wait excitedly for the next Lauren Child publication. We are never disappointed.
A wonderful book with all the vital elements - an engaging story, original illustrations, humour and real 'child friendly' issues such as starting school. Needless to say, we all loved it and the children were fascinated by the invisible friend and longed to get their hands on my copy to take a closer look!
Madonna is not a patch on Lauren Child or the other many wonderful picture books which children are priveleged to read nowadays.
We await the next book with excited anticipation. Keep up the fantastic work.
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This is a charming and entertaining entry in the 'Charlie and Lola' series, and one which has particular significance for preschool-age children in the run-up to starting at 'big school'. I first bought a copy of this title in 2005, when one of the preschoolers I work with was showing significant signs of distress about starting school. She really related to the story - which helped her to deal with her anxiety about the transition.

The story has been a big hit with subsequent 'generations' of nursery children, as Lola's doubts and fears reflect those of many school starters.

So why not a full 5 stars for a story that is well written and entertaining?

Unfortunately, unlike ALL of the primary schools in the rural area where I work (and many elsewhere), there is no school uniform at the school Lola will be joining, and her fears regarding same dress are totally unfounded because she will not have to wear a uniform ("schooliform").

Although Charlie points out that for schoolwear stripes are preferable to her crocodile costume, Lola's distaste for likeness of dress ultimately prevails and the story includes an image of children in uniform (Lola-clones) all dressed alike which is very negative.

If you're i) in an area, or ii) sending your child to a school where uniform is mandatory for primary schoolers, then it's up to the teacher/ reader to explain the positive (e.g. group identity) aspects of uniform.
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