Standalone. Kids Can Press (September 2013) NetGalley
Loula has had enough of her terrible triplet brothers and decides to run away to Africa. Luckily, her mother's chauffeur, Gilbert, knows just how to get there. Together, Loula and Gilbert ride camels, cross a desert and, most important, use heaps of imagination in this heartwarming adventure.
Loula is tired of her mean, stinky brothers antics so she decides to run away to the farthest place she can think of - Africa. Her brothers will never go there in a million years because they are scared of snakes and even if they did come a piranha would surely eat them. So off she goes but not before telling her parents mind you but all they do is brush her off not even seeming to know what she is saying. That definitely seals the deal. She's going to Africa! The chauffeur catches wind of her plans and decides to help her on her journey. What ensues is a whimsical journey about running away and finding your way back home.
Loula is understandably upset. Her brothers are bothering her all the time and her parents don't even care that she's running away! Her parents are too busy doing their own thing to pay attention to her. She ends up finding a friend in the chauffeur who agrees to take her to her destination. Loula has spunk from the start. She's a determined little thing who you quickly realize really just needs a friend to make her feel wanted and she found that in an unlikely source. The curious pair go to imaginative and wondrous places that only a childish mind knows. The illustrations are very much like Madeline. It has that messy, artistic sort of feel. I enjoyed seeing Loula's journey unfold through the art. I especially took delight in the little squiggly marks over Loula's head in most of the images showing how upset she was. It got a couple of chuckles out of me.
Overall: Lovely story that is great for those kid's who have running-away-itis. It also brought up the fact that kids who need some attention now and again will let you know. So pay attention!
Anne Villeneuve is the illustrator and sometimes author of several picture books including The Red Scarf. You can check out her website here. You can also get a sneak preview of Loula is Leaving for Africa at Kids Can Press.