Title: But Excuse Me That Is My Book
Author: Lauren Child
Illustrator: Lauren Child
Publisher: Dial Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: January 2006
Brother and sister, Charlie and Lola of the Disney Playhouse series of the same name, are heading to the library to check out books. Lola has decided that her favorite book Beetles, Bugs, and Butterflies is the only text that she can check out. However Lola discovers her book missing from the shelves when she arrives at the library. Charlie attempts to introduce Lola to books of various types, styles, and topics until he determines what she wants in a book. Lola spies another patron with Beetles, Bugs, and Butterflies and promptly wants to give up on Cheetahs and Chimpanzees - the alternate book that Charlie has recommended based on Lola's descriptions. Lola learns that there can be more than one favorite book.
My children, ages 4, 6, and 8, all enjoy the Charlie and Lola series featured on Playhouse Disney. Charlie, the older brother, frequently tries to assist Lola in various situations. In this book, Charlie is trying to help Lola to find another book to read since her text has been checked out by another patron. As is common with many young readers, Lola has repeatedly requisitioned the same text and she doesn't wish to change to another.
While I like the collage style of the illustrations and I appreciate the overall message (that there are many good books in the library to be found on a variety of topics) I really don't care for the premature adult position in which Charlie has been placed. Charlie, although Lola's older brother, is forced to help Lola circumnavigate the options until he determines what her specific requirements in a book are: lots of pictures, a story, no big words, and animals to make her laugh. I think that it's wonderful that the older brother is helping Lola, but the fact that he is acting as a surrogate father (in this story the father takes them to the library but makes no appearance in any of the illustrations) for Lola is distasteful to me.
Further, I think for younger readers, the type face and the collage in the text is confusing and is certainly grammatically incorrect. I wouldn't want to use this book to demonstrate the proper grammatical presentation for book titles, which are not italicized but appear more as cutout letters from newsprint or magazines.
Overall the theme of the book is strong - check out the options available to patrons at the library as one might find other topics that he or she likes, but the underlying concepts left a bad taste in my mouth.