The Edmond Sun

June 10, 2013

6-11 Books

The Edmond Sun



One hundred and a few-odd years ago, in Paris, France, there lived a humble postman name Lalouche. He was small, but his hands were nimble, his legs were fast, and his arms were strong.

In “The Mighty Lalouche,” the extraordinary happens when Monsieur Lalouche takes to the ring and proves himself a boxer extraordinaire. C’est impossible! you say? This charming tale holds a few surprises between its pages.

When his job is replaced by an electric car, the postman Lalouche turns to boxing to support himself and his pet finch, Genevieve.

But — “You? A boxer?” the fighters ask. “I could sneeze and knock you down!” Still, Lalouche refuses to give up. Weathering such threats as “I’ll zap him,” “I’ll tie him in a pretty bow,” and most alarmingly, “I’ll squeeze him till he pops!”

Lalouche nimbly thwarts each of his frightening foes in the ring, proving size is no indicator of strength or will.

In keeping with the historical nature of the story, Blackall uses the nearly forgotten Japanese paper diorama style called tatebanko for this book to great effect.

“The Mighty Lalouche” was written specifically for Sophie Blackall after Matthew Olshan discovered that she collected old pictures of boxers, especially “extremely skinny ones with big billowing boxing trunks.”

Ages 4-8.



In the third title in the series, “Alice-Miranda Takes the Stage,” readers will be instantly drawn to the perpetually positive and determined 7-year-old, Alice-Miranda Highton-Smith-Kennington-Jones, who takes herself off to boarding school because it appeals to her sense of adventure. The Alice-Miranda series is perfect for fans of Judy Moody, Matilda and Clementine.

But it’s not all glamour and stage lights: there are rumors of a witch in the woods, and Alice-Miranda’s friends, Jacinta and Millie, are clashing with Sloan Sykes, a rude new student whose pushy mother comes up with a get-rich scheme that could have disastrous results.

When Alice-Miranda learns of the plot, she tries to set things right — and on the night of the big performance, no less!

Ages 7-10.



Readers will follow the journey of a bluebird as he develops a friendship with a young boy and ultimately risks his life to save the boy from harm in this wordless book. The tale unfolds in blues, grays and blacks, with color entering the pages at the story’s end.

“Bluebird” became the means to this goal, exploring loneliness, friendship, and loss in an abstract and poetic way. The story’s striking conclusion is left open to interpretation. Staake explains that by creating an ambiguous ending, “children can resolve ‘Bluebird’ in their own personal — and empowering — way.”

For more information and a behind-the-scenes look at the creation of the book, visit

Ages 4-8.