CM . . .
. Volume XII Number 21 . . . . June 23, 2006
Another issue is food allergies. One boy, Kendall, has an allergic reaction to a chocolate bar and is rushed to the hospital by ambulance. If it wasn't for Lilly's and Theresa's heroic efforts, Kendall might have died, and his parents, as well as the rest of the school community, are very grateful for the girls' bravery.
Running in the background is another childhood issue - bullying. Many of the students are not respectful to each other, especially surrounding the issue of obesity. They do not embrace the new changes at the school and are resentful of Theresa because her mother is the nutritionist making the recommendations to the school. The black and white images throughout the book show many thin children and one “chubby” girl who is Theresa. Kendall, the young boy that Theresa saves, starts to call her “Fatso,” and the other children tell her that her mother should mind her own business. Despite the children's accusations, she still saves Kendall by giving him the “kiss of life” or mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.
In the end, all the issues merge when Lilly speaks for everyone and says: “All that matters is what we're like inside. No more teasing. Okay? Cause inside, Theresa is the best.”
Many children might enjoy this small, easy-to-handle pocket-sized novel, especially older, struggling readers. Even though these are called “First Novels,” the topics and formats are easily accessible for older, less experienced readers. The topic is current, and there is a happy ending. Much of the text is dialogue, a situation which makes for quick reading. This book is not a deep insight to serious social issues, but it could be a good conversation starter which could lead to a more in-depth study.
The author, Brenda Bellingham, was born in England and now lives in Sherwood Park, AB. Lilly Takes the Lead is the eighth book in the “Lilly” series. She has collaborated with the illustrator, Clarke MacDonald, a graphic designer from Halifax, NS, on two other Lilly books, Lilly Makes a Friend and Lilly's Special Gift.
Stacie Edgar is a recent graduate of the Integrated B.A./B.Ed. Education program at the University of Winnipeg in Winnipeg, MB.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.