________________ CM . . . . Volume XXII Number 17. . . .January 8, 2016


Lola and I.

Chiara Valentina Segré. Illustrated by Paola Domeniconi. Translated by Chiara Valentina Segré.
Markham, ON: Fitzhenry & Whiteside, 2015.
32 pp., hardcover, $18.95.
ISBN 978-1-55455-363-1.

Subject Headings:
Children with disabilities-Juvenile fiction.
Guide dogs-Juvenile fiction.

Grades 1-3 / Ages 6-8.

Review by Bev Brenna.

***˝ /4



Lola is my best friend. We live together in a pretty house next to a big horse chestnut tree.

Before we met, I lived happily in the countryside with my family. I was very clever at school. Lola, instead, was lonely and ill.

I loved her at first sight and decided that from that moment on, I’d take care of her. We moved into town. At first, it was not easy at all.


This evocative picture book about a friendship between a girl and her dog reads like a memoir with a surprising twist. The last page of text reveals that the narrator is a service animal whose relationship with Lola, a young blind girl, has promoted her independence. Flipping back through the pages, we can reread information about Lola’s travels, knowing now that it is because of her canine companion that she is able to navigate the markets, spend days in the park, tobogganing, and enjoying a special trip to the seaside.

     This title was originally published in Italy as Lola e io where it received the 2015 IBBY Outstanding Book for Young People with Disabilities.

     Italian author Chiara Valentina both wrote and translated the story. Italian artist Paolo Domeniconi created the beautifully textured illustrations, painted entirely in digital media using Adobe Photoshop.

      While this is very much a book about character rather than action, it will inspire personal responses in its readership, and it offers room for related talk as a response activity if used in elementary classrooms.

     Although the target reading age involves younger elementary students, Lola and I is a book that will be appreciated by older readers in the way it takes action against stereotypes while offering a portrayal of an energetic young woman whose blindness is only one characteristic in a dynamic portrayal.

Highly Recommended.

Bev Brenna, a literacy professor at the University of Saskatchewan, has 10 published books for young people.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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.
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The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.

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