The Thing Lou Couldn't Do

illus. by Ashley Spires. 32p. Kids Can. May 2017. Tr $17.95. ISBN 9781771387279.
PreS-Gr 1—Lou and her friends love daring adventures, but when it comes to climbing trees, Lou sulks because she can't do it. Playing high in the branches of a tree, her companions are slow to notice Lou's plight. Midway through the story, they come down to offer help, but Lou isn't ready to climb the tree yet. After considering a few alternative ways to get into the tree, Lou gives climbing a try—and fails. Finally, recognizing her lack of skill, the friends take their game out of the tree and back to the ground. Lou holds no grudges and decides to try climbing another time. Digital illustrations include a set of culturally diverse, cartoonlike characters who are expressive yet somewhat unappealing, often set on a background of stark white space with some shading. The artwork is serviceable, but the book's main value is in the message it imparts—that it's better to attempt a challenge than to avoid it, although success is not always guaranteed. Lou goes through a range of emotional states in her struggle to overcome her inability to climb, but she doesn't let her obstacle defeat her.
VERDICT This tale about meeting life's challenges and not giving up is a good purchase for medium or larger libraries.

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