Lola Levine: Drama Queen
By Monica Brown, Illustrated by Angela Dominguez
Published by: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (January 5, 2016)
Available in: hardcover, paperback, Kindle, NOOK
At the time of this review, there were three books in the Lola Levine Series.
A natural act.
Lola Levine: Drama Queen melds an outsize personality, acting lessons, and an easy cultural mix into one smooth play.
Our protagonist, the effervescent Lola, is precocious without being snarky. She’s kind and brave, even when she fails. She’s a witty thinker, which is a joy to read, and her family is quirky enough to be interesting and solid enough to be comfortable. They love each other, even when it’s hard. This little girl stands out in the chapter book crowd from sheer force of personality (and, maybe, volume of voice).
The book easily integrates cultures (in this case, both Jewish and Latino), something done too rarely in chapter books. We see this in the references to food and heroes (e.g., Dolores Huerta, farm activist), as well as in the inventive use of the epistolary format. Lola both writes letters—real letters, not texts or emails—to her bubbe in Florida, as well as keeps a diary. Each diary entry begins with “Dear Diario,” and ends with “Shalom.”
There is fun, smart wordplay used throughout the book. Classic growing-up moments are introduced with precise timing and subtle context within the story (think bubble gum, hair, and scissors). And acting lessons, such as improvisation games and role playing, are introduced in ways that let Lola’s personality shine.
What do you say teachers, parents and writers? Use the comment below and let’s chat….