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Little Lulu: Lulu's Umbrella Service

Writer: John Stanley
Artist: Irving Tripp
Booklist, February 2006
The seventh Little Lulu comic-book collection seems loaded with stories that pesky little-boy neighbor Alvin extracts from Lulu by such stratagems as locking her in her own bedroom closet until she complies. There's the one about the six sad, little sisters (all look exactly like Lulu) locked up in an orphanage; the eldest escapes, though, and gets a job mining rock candy. There's the one about the girl raised by sparrows that flee in shame after shoving her out of the nest to get her to fly (she is conked out by her landing) and that she spends five years trying to find before wandering into a school for ghosts. There's the one about when Lulu "was a poor, little girl" earning her living picking cattails in a swamp until she is given a magic flute. If these sound astonishingly inventive and complex for kids comic-book fare, well, they are, and also entirely of a piece, including the fact that they sound basically like a child's creations, with the stories Lulu doesn't tell Alvin. (Ray Olson) YA: The quintessence of an all-ages delight RO.

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