May 10, 2017

The Thing Lou Couldn't Do

Written and illustrated by Ashley Spires
Kids Can Press
978-1-77138-727-9
32 pp.
Ages 3-7
May 2017

Lou has the spirit of adventure. She and her friends love to play, build fortresses, rescue wild animals and take on all challenges.  But when her little friends suggest pirates,  using the tree as their ship, Lou is apprehensive.  This from the little girl who sees herself as a deep-sea diver or a race-car driver or maybe even a pirate when she grows up.
From The Thing Lou Couldn't Do 
by Ashley Spires
But tree climbing is new to Lou.  While her friends scramble up, Lou tries to convince them to play something else or she makes inspired excuses (e.g., slug funeral, incoming asteroid, resting after eating) to avoid attempting that which makes her uneasy.  When her feline sidekick scales that tree (of course), Lou wishes for another means of getting into the tree without climbing it.  But, that’s no help; after all, where are you going to get a helicopter on short notice?  Finally a plea for help has the young girl trying what she almost believes to be impossible.
From The Thing Lou Couldn't Do 
by Ashley Spires
Don’t think that The Thing Lou Couldn’t Do is a little-engine-that-could story.  It may be about determination and courage and confidence but it doesn’t end with achieving the goal.  That’s the inspiring part of Ashley Spires’ newest picture book.  The Thing Lou Couldn’t Do isn’t about telling kids that they can do anything to which they put their minds because, let’s face, that’s not true.  All the inspiration and encouragement can’t make all dreams and wishes, even those with plans, come to fruition.  And kids need to know this.  It doesn’t mean you’re setting them up for failure.  It’s telling them that it’s good to try but, if it doesn’t work out, you can try again but you can also accept that it’s not for you.
From The Thing Lou Couldn't Do
by Ashley Spires
Ashley Spires makes sure that children will undoubtedly see themselves in Lou’s play and fears so they can take her as a role model for accepting challenges.  This little girl and her diverse friends represent anyone who has ever seen a task as impossible i.e., everyone. And these children are darling.  Ashley Spires’ characters, with their bright eyes and slightly larger than normal heads, serve all children, including those with eyeglasses, unmatched socks, in pants or dresses, red-haired or not.  Ashley Spires, who wowed everyone with her Binky the Space Cat series, has found a way to provide inspirational messages in children’s books (Small Saul, Larf, The Most Magnificent Thing) without preaching or providing answers to life’s dilemmas such as undertaking the impossible.

So, you know that thing that Lou didn’t think she could do?  She was right.  For now.
From The Thing Lou Couldn't Do 
by Ashley Spires

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