The Books

One Potato Review

With the Charlie and Lola gravy train still racing unstoppably through television episodes and merchandizing bonanzas and further literary installments of diminishing urgency, it’s easy to forget where all this got started – and what a blast it used to be to stumble upon these books at the store. First this, then I Am Not Sleepy and I Will Not Go to Bed, then I Am Too Absolutely Small for School each of which looked so thrillingly new around 2003, though they have spawned many imitators since. Still, Child’s not giving away the secret formula or anything, which is considerably more than the sum of dizzy collaging and multiplying adverbs and whimsical lines in the sand. Lola’s an original, but she was more fun, it says here, before she went off to school and made friends to replace the one she invented (a translucent Soren Lorensen), and otherwise change the conversation. Recycling? Glasses? Whatever. Next to her earliest explorations into the holy trinity of children’s phobias, these hardly seem to merit the deployment of this author-and-illustrator’s extraordinary talents. For imagining carrots as “orange twiglets from Jupiter.” Mashed potatoes as “cloud fluff from the pointiest peak of Mount Fuji.” Antic but never self-conscious. A treasure.   

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