There’s an impressive amount of detail on every page and the fact vs. fiction aspects of the story are incredible. Obviously the French Revolution was real, as were the people referred to in the book, yet the seamless weaving of a contemporary fictional story and with historical fact was amazing.
The Mighty Lalouche is a feel-good, inspiring story to start off the summer! Lalouche is a French postman living in a Paris apartment without a view. Although Lalouche is small and bony, he is also nimble, fast, and strong. All the qualities of a great postman! One day the postal service decides to buy a fleet of cars to replace the walking postman, leaving Lalouche out of a job and worried about where he and his pet finch, Genevieve, will live. On his way home, Lalouche sees a sign for the Bastille Boxing Club and goes to inquire. The boxing manager discounts Lalouche based on his size and stature, but Lalouche is determined to be a boxer. With his speed, strength, and agility, Lalouche takes on on the biggest and best boxers of the world, proving to all that looks aren’t everything.
Not to be left out is a brief discussion of the art. The pictures are delicately crafted out of paper cut-outs, then layered and arranged to create intricate and beautiful scenes. My two favorite depictions are the 2-page spreads of the victory scene and the view of Paris from Lalouche’s apartment.
The Mighty Lalouche, by Matthew Olshan, illustrated by Sophie Blackall; Schwartz & Wade, $17.99
Amanda’s Pick: Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly
After the death of her younger brother, Andi Alpers is clinically depressed and prescribed a myriad of anti-depressants to help her to cope with the loss. No matter what she does, it seems nothing is working to bring her out of the darkness. She’s doing terribly in school and only finds peace while playing her guitar or studying music. To top it all off, her father forces her to go to Paris with him on a business trip, where he’s performing a DNA study on a preserved human heart to see if it’s the son of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette. Andi knows she is going to be bored and is eager to continue her plan to end her life.
In Paris, Andi is supposed to begin an in-depth study of a French composer for school, but instead of focusing on that, she can only focus on the diary she finds, written by Alexandrine, a young companion to the son of Louis and Marie Antoinette. And in the midst of discovering more about Alexandrine and her life during the French Revolution, Andi also meets a boy. A special boy that starts to transform her attitude about the world.
Donnelly’s prose evokes sadness and despair. You’ll find yourself lost in both Andi’s and Alexandrine’s worlds and their fight for survival. Andi’s sadness just pours off the page and her emotional state is ultimately transferred the the reader.
Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly, Delacorte Press, YA