Kirkus Reviews: Lola and Lucy’s Big Adventure

Spectacular illustrations and digital diversions drive this sweet tale of two Vermont bulldogs in search of a purpose.

Having learned that dogs are supposed to have jobs and, from a peek online, that bulldogs were bred to hold bulls’ noses, Lucy and Lola embark on a cross-country quest. It takes them from Wall Street’s bronze bull to a dairy farm, South Dakota (in search of “Sitting Bull”), a western rodeo and other bullish locales—all of which are laid out on a retractable map of the United States. A laid-back California bull finally lets them take an anticlimactic grab (“His nose was cold, wet and not very exciting. ‘I guess it isn’t the same if the bull lets you,’ Lucy said”). He then clues them in before a happy closing reunion with their frantic human family: “A dog’s job is…to bring comfort and joy to the human heart.” The dogs’ wrinkled mugs steal the show in the photorealistic visuals, but the plethora of interactive elements aren’t far behind. Along with the map, a multi-entry encyclopedia of dog breeds, two paint boxes and 13 dexterity-based minigames, 286 animations or sound effects respond to screen taps (as an incentive to start over, readers are presented at the end with a tally of how many they found). Furthermore, the narrative is available in either “Picture Book” or “Chapter Book” versions, with optional audio readings and an auto-play option.

A doggy road trip with nary a dull moment…no bull. (free sampler in iTunes) (iPad storybook app. 5-9)

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