I Can Do Anything That's Everything All on My Own (Charlie & Lola) by Lauren Child

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I Can Do Anything That's Everything All on My Own (Charlie & Lola) by Lauren Child

Category: For Sharing
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Magda Healey
Reviewed by Magda Healey
Summary: Despite being a TV-series tie-in, the spirit of the original concept is kept and developed, the characters' dynamic still works, the imagination flourishes, and the whole book will be enjoyed by anybody who likes Charlie & Lola (i.e. anybody who has anything to do with small children).
Buy? Maybe Borrow? Yes
Pages: 26 Date: January 2008
Publisher: Puffin Books
ISBN: 978-0141384009

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I am not very keen on massive merchandise-spawning series and even less so on TV tie-ins. However, occasionally, a product appears that actually makes it clear that there is nothing wrong per se with series, merchandise or TV adaptations (I am still to see something originally created for TV that has been turned into a decent book, though. That if the original idea and execution is good, one can forgive (or even enjoy) a lot of merchandise lines and televisation too.

And thus enter Charlie and Lola, who first appeared in 2000, in book format, and who since then have been turned into an fantastically well executed and dubbed animation (the first shorts were on cbeebies site, while 2005 saw the TV début) which actually, possibly, improves on the original book format.

Seven years old Charlie narrates the stories. And he has this little sister Lola (nearly five) who is small, and very funny. They live in a striking, simple, modern collage-world, combining drawings and cut-outs and photos of actual objects.

Lauren Child's illustrations are, obviously, excellent: her line instantly recognisable, energetic, modern but not alienating; the typography is carefully thought out, the final products full of style and character.

The characters are brilliant: the big brother, telling his own, version of the tale, playing the parent figure to the high-spirited sister, who is still very much a little one - especially to Charlie's seven years old sensible eyes. The language captures perfectly the combination of high fluency and fast-growing vocabulary mixed with quirks of syntax and idiosyncrasies of usage, so characteristic of many a 4 year old. Lola is also wonderfully argumentative and stubborn and generally exhibits all the characteristics of a highly-imaginative, precocious, high-spirited child that are so infuriating in one's own progeny, but so endearing in fictional characters.

I Can Do Anything That's Everything All on My Own tackles the subject of the title, and Lola's lesson should be sickeningly moralising; but it's not: because it's told by a child only a little bit older, but whose behaviour (at least in his own relation) is infused with a maturity of a parent; and because it's so very, very funny!

I Can Do Anything That's Everything All on My Own is not, actually, Lauren Child's work. She is credited as the creator of the characters, and the text is based on the script written by Carol Noble and Bridget Hurst. But it doesn't really matter in this case. The spirit of the original concept is kept and developed, the characters' dynamic still works, the imagination flourishes, and the whole book will be enjoyed by anybody who likes Charlie &Lola and if you have anything to do with small children and somehow managed not to get acquainted with the duo, do so immediately - and if you want a board book, this one will do fine.

This book was sent to the Bookbag by the publishers.

Another board book which we found surprisingly enjoyable despite the franchise associations was Where's Noddy?: Pull-the-tab Surprise Book.

Buy I Can Do Anything That's Everything All on My Own (Charlie & Lola) by Lauren Child at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy I Can Do Anything That's Everything All on My Own (Charlie & Lola) by Lauren Child at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy I Can Do Anything That's Everything All on My Own (Charlie & Lola) by Lauren Child at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy I Can Do Anything That's Everything All on My Own (Charlie & Lola) by Lauren Child at Amazon.com.


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