Love, Lah Lah

Knopf. Jan. 2024. 40p. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9780593487693.
PreS-Gr 2–Readers itching for a reason to get up and dance should tune in to Love, Lah Lah. In this lively musical picture book, little Lah Lah and her grandfather Papa sing, eat, and shake their tail feathers through Port of Spain in Trinidad and Tobago during Carnival. Their festive day together ends with a duet about their pride in their people and each other. What begins as a fun and carefree holiday story then concludes as an emotional ode to a Caribbean legend. In its final pages, readers learn that Lah Lah is based on Blackman as a child, and Papa is the late Ras Shorty I, her grandfather and pioneer of soca music, an essential part of Carnival in Trinidad and Tobago. Blackman’s text packs a lot of celebratory joy into short, breezy verses, which are harmoniously reflected in Orlando’s vibrant illustrations of cheerful faces and swaying bodies in extravagant masquerade costumes. A glossary explains some elements of the book that are significant to Carnival and that may be unfamiliar to a young audience and those new to the festivities. Suggest this to fans of Connie Schofield-Morrison’s I Got the Rhythm or Oge Mora’s Thank You, Omu!
VERDICT A lyrical and loving tribute to family and Trinidadian culture that should fill a gap in most library collections.

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