Review Blog

Nov 03 2014

Lulu Bell series by Belinda Murrell

cover image

Ill. by Serena Geddes. Random House, 2014
Lulu Bell and the Tiger Cub. ISBN 9780857983015
Lulu Bell and the Pyjama Party. ISBN 9780857983039
(Age: Yr 1-3) There was great excitement at my house recently because Miss 8 came to stay and discovered in my review pile the two latest additions to the new series by Belinda Murrell for young girls who are verging on being independent readers and looking for a novel which features a young heroine just like them. Lulu Bell is just eight, the practical one in a family that includes her six-year-old sister Rosie, who loves wearing angel wings and sparkly shoes; her three-year-old brother Gus who always wears his superhero suit; her dad, a busy vet and her mum, an artist- not to mention a menagerie of pets. Miss 8 really enjoys this refreshing series of stories about characters she can relate to, particularly Lulu as the strong, sensible level-headed lead, and there were no 'just-five-more-minutes?' at bedtime because she was so keen to curl up and read them.
In i>Lulu Bell and the Tiger Cub, Lulu and her friends go on a class excursion to the zoo. Given a treasure hunt of questions they need to answer, Lulu and her friends and the reader learn all sorts of unusual facts about the animals, such as the meerkat being able to eat scorpions because they're immune to the venom. But it is because the zoo's vet is one of her dad's best friends that they have a remarkable experience with Berani the tiger cub and make it a zoo trip to remember.
In Lulu Bell and the Pyjama Party Lulu has an exciting time as Molly and Sam and Ebony sleep over. But instead of games, snacks, stories and whispering and giggling far into the night, they are needed to help Dad at the vet hospital as he has one of his busiest nights for years.
Based on the author's own experiences of growing up in a vet hospital, this series has an authenticity that really appeals to its target audience, particularly as that is the age when so many of them dream of living the life themselves. Each new adventure is greeted warmly by Miss 8, who delights in being able to read them for herself, and I know she has introduced her friends to Lulu Bell because she told me her school's teacher librarian was wondering when the latest episodes would be available. She was delighted when I told her that there would be a special Christmas one available in November. So for a read of the more traditional kind that really speaks to this age group, this series should be on your library's must-have list. If it's already part of your collection, then look for these new titles and tell the students they can find out more at the author's website.
Barbara Braxton

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