The U-nique Lou Fox

Pajama Pr. Aug. 2022. 240p. Tr $18.95. ISBN 9781772782585.
Gr 3-7–Fifth grader Louisa Elizabeth Fitzhenry-O’Shaughnessy is creative, innovative, warm, a fierce friend, and a loving daughter. Lou aspires to be a Broadway playwright and a Cirque du Soleil performer, and she practices her theater and gymnastics skills with her two best friends, Lexie and Nakessa, every chance she has. Lou is highly verbal and terrific in art class, but because she has dyslexia and ADHD, she finds schoolwork involving reading, writing, and memorization a frustrating slog. Lou’s imagination runs wild during class, and when her teacher Mrs. Snyder constantly clocks her daydreaming, Lou comes to believe that Mrs. Snyder just doesn’t like her. When Lou learns she is about to become a big sister, her anxiety at school extends to home. Lou mistakenly believes that she needs to prove her worth to the adults in her life: she needs to be perfect in her behavior and schoolwork, so her mother is proud, and she needs to direct and write a perfect play so Mrs. Snyder sees how much work she is putting in at school. In Lou Fox, Carmichael has created a refreshing, believable, and fun-loving protagonist who will be a welcome addition to library shelves. Her navigation of stage fright, jealousy, friendship, and schoolwork is deftly written with believable examples. Despite Lou’s anxiety about school and home life and frequent pitfalls and fresh starts, the book flows at a cheerful, bouncing pace. The very short chapters, often between two and six pages, will build confidence for emerging readers. The font was selected with readers with dyslexia in mind, with emphasized words bolded and back matter sharing information and resources about dyslexia and ADHD. Lou is cued as white.
VERDICT Prepare to fall in love with Lou Fox and her supportive cast of family, friends, and teachers. Recommended for fiction collections.

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