Last-But-Not-Least Lola and the Wild Chicken

illus. by Paul Hoppe. 208p. Boyds Mills. Sept. 2014. Tr $15.95. ISBN 9781590789834.
Gr 2–5—In her entertaining first book, second-grader Lola Zuckerman, with the help of her family and classmates, came from last place to win her class's "green" vest. In this second installment, readers again find Lola vying to come out on top. This time her class challenge is making friends. Lola covets the sole attention of her best friend, Amanda. Yet Lola's enemy, Jessie, is also Amanda's best friend. To complicate matters further, there is a new girl in class named Savannah. Lola sees both girls as her rivals. "All of us can be best friends," says Amanda. Lola disagrees. With her parents both away on business, Lola's grandma attempts to impart wisdom through her tales of an impatient chicken called Lola. All of this is centered on an upcoming class visit to Kookamut farm. The characters in this contemporary story are delightfully complex, and while they claim to dislike one another, the empathy they display toward one another is what sets this story apart. Lola must learn to cope with feelings that confuse her and repeatedly land her in trouble. The pen-and-ink drawings are bright and inviting. Once again, kids will root for Lola on her quest to be a "good" person. While not as humorous as her first adventure, this romp is a worthwhile read.—Sada Mozer, Los Angeles Public Library
Lola's best friend, Amanda, has been spending more time with Jessie and Savannah than with her, and Lola's jealousy leads to some bad behavior. Eventually she learns that saying you're sorry--and showing it--yields better results than being a "rotten tomato." Although the lesson in this second book is a little heavy-handed, readers will relate to Lola's feelings. Black-and-white illustrations appear throughout.

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