Molly Lou Melon may be tiny, clumsy, buck-toothed, and with a voice "like a bullfrog being squeezed by a boa constrictor," but she doesn't mind. Her grandmother has utmost confidence in her, and tells her at every turn to believe in herself. "Sing out clear and strong and the world will cry tears of joy," Grandma says. But Molly Lou's self-assurance is put to the test when she moves to a new town, away from her friends and beloved grandmother. During her first week of school, Ronald Durkin taunts Molly Lou Melon in the dull-witted but sharp-edged manner of career bullies, calling her "shrimpo" and "bucky-toothed beaver." Our heroine barely flinches as she systematically sets out to prove herself, and Ronald Durkin ends up feeling pretty foolish.
First-time author Patty Lovell's message is clear and simple, and the theme is familiar enough to strike chords with every reader, young and old. David Catrow, illustrator of Take Me Out of the Bathtub and Other Silly Dilly Songs, Rotten Teeth, and other popular picture books, depicts a very weird-looking, very appealing little girl with warmth and cartoonish humor. Any child who is less than perfect will cheer with joy to meet Molly Lou Melon, a girl who doesn't let anything--or anyone--shake her belief in herself. (Ages 5 to 8) --Emilie Coulter
From Publishers Weekly
Meet Molly Lou Melon: she's "just taller than her dog," with "buck teeth that stuck out so far, she could stack pennies on them," and a voice that brings to mind "a bullfrog being squeezed by a boa constrictor." She also possesses huge insect-like eyes. In fact, young readers may actually gasp when they get a good look at the fearless first-grader in Catrow's (She's Wearing a Dead Bird on Her Head) double spread, extreme close-up portrait. Thanks to her grandmother, the protagonist possesses seemingly indomitable self-esteem but will it survive a move to a new school and a bully named Ronald Durkin? Newcomer Lovell doesn't offer any real surprises in her fable there's never any doubt that Molly Lou Melon will charm her classmates with her eccentric talents (which include making a paper snowflake the size of a school room), or that even Ronald Durkin will capitulate and join her fan club. What keeps the storytelling fresh is the crisp prose and the heroine's full-speed-ahead determination; the story never dallies too long on the potentially saccharine message. Catrow's full-bleed pencil-and-watercolor illustrations, awash in ripe colors and animated by slapstick exaggeration, radiate a winningly eccentric elegance. Ages 4-8.
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