Introducing D'Lila LaRue by Nette Hilton. Illus. by A. Yi
D'Lila La Rue means well and she always thinks she's being terribly polite, but sometimes the people around her find her a little loud, a little rude and somewhat annoying. She lives in a small house with her very important mummy and daddy but is mostly cared for by Nanny-Anny. Fans of Amelia Bedelia and the Eloise books will appreciate the subtle humour and being 'in' on the joke (with D'Lila's literal interpretations of things like 'being on her toes'). Introducing D'Lila La Rue contains three short stories, each of about 7 chapters each. A smattering of black and white illustrations accompany the text. D'Lila's first adventure sees her helping Nanny-Anny to look after the roses for the Rosiest Garden Street Award. There are some lovely moments here of Nanny fostering D'Lila's curiosity and enthusiasm and some humorous happenings (D'Lila is astounded that you can buy poo in a shop to feed the roses and she pretends to be a hungry rose by standing in a puddle of water). There is also a sweet ending as she gets rewarded for being kind and helpful. The second story about a trip to the theatre, mostly centres on their public transports adventures, and the third sees them head to Nanny-Anny's art class, where D'Lila is entirely unwelcome.
There is a charming sense of companionship to D'Lila and Nanny's relationship and their home world is cosy and comforting. However, while intended to be humourous, some readers might be concerned by the way D'Lila is treated (or in general, how children are viewed) by the adults in the community. Nanny-Anny has to have a glass of wine because she is feeling 'ragged', her parents are not to be disturbed, someone on the bus calls her a rude little girl, the bus driver calls her a wicked little child who needs to be taken in hand, somone at the art class calls her a beast and even Nanny tells her at one point to keep her eyes open and her mouth shut and is always popping lollies in her mouth to keep her quiet. These antiquated attitudes to children are a common thread that hopefully don't detract too much from some wonderfully fun stories for independent readers.
Themes: Humourous stories.