3 Stars The Adventures of Loveable Lobo: ......Lobo and Popo Fool the Pack C.L. Murphy Pages: 28 Ages: 3 to 5 .........................
The majestic Leader of a wolf pack sends the latest litter of pups ready on a solo hunt (right of passage for young male wolves). Loveable Lobo is part of the litter, but pays little attention to his leader’s instructions. When Lobo sees a butterfly, he stops to look and wonders what it would be like to fly. He stops to get a pine nut. With all his distractions, Lobo loses the other pups. Problem is, Lobo hates the taste of meat. This is one wolf pup that prefers to be a herbivore, rather than the carnivore he was born to be.
At the river, Lobo meets up with his friend Popo, an opossum. Lobo tells Popo what he is supposed to be doing and why he does not want to hunt. The two devise a plan to fool the pack leader into thinking Lobo had actually caught something for the pack’s dinner. Popo agrees to do what opossums do best—play opossum.
Lobo is an interesting wolf with a long brown nose and bright brown eyes. When he is eating dandelions, he looks much like my cat after he has had too much catnip. The illustrations nicely detailed. The brightly colored illustrations turn grey to signify the night in this all-day adventure.
I did not like the talking bubbles above the characters’ heads. When the pack leader is giving instructions to the young pups, the bubble above his head said,
This is not what I would want my child reading. Sure, the words he speaks are in the text area below the illustration, but kids are still going to read this. Some may think the pack leader speaks this way; others will see the error for what it is. Later, most of the kids will be kids and walk around, to their parent’s dismay, saying, “Blah . . . blah . . . blah . . . blah . . . blah . . . blah.”
If there is not enough room in the bubble to print a character’s words, do not use a bubble. It is just bad, especially when the bubbles are inconsistently used. Leave the bubbles out.
I liked the story. Lobo is different from the other wolves and refuses to take part in something he hates. Good for him! Fooling the pack leader may have worked . . . this time. Using his opossum friend was smart. What better to pretend to be dead than the animal designed to play opossum? What I would have liked Lobo to find a way to tell the pack leader that he was not a carnivore, but a herbivore. Lobo is okay with his diet. It would have been courageous of the misunderstood Lobo to tell the rest of his pack.
I really do like this story of a misunderstood character. But, the ending would have been better if Lobo and Popo did not walk away laughing (okay), yet wondering if they had succeeded(nervous laugh?). In a novel, this would be a loose thread left dangling. Some sensitive, thoughtful, or inquisitive child is going to want to know what will happen to Lobo when he goes back home. And why shouldn’t he when even Lobo is not sure he was successful? Asking the reader what they think will start a discussion, which is good.
This is C.L. Murphy’s debut and she did well. Writing and illustrating are tough to jobs. Doing both jobs must be extremely difficult, especially for a first book. Ms. Murphy delivered a good debut children’s book.
Publisher: (SP) iTunes
Release Date: September 7, 2012
Number of Pages: 28
Ages: 3 to 5
Copyright ©2012 C.L. Murphy, used with permission.