Reading/Interest Level: Primary, Intermediate
Author: Judith Viorst
Illustrator: Lane Smith
Lulu is a very impatient, spoiled young lady. She is an only child and generally gets whatever she wants. However, what Lulu wants this time is not something that her parents can afford, so they encourage her to get a job and earn the money herself. She decides to walk dogs and estimates how much money she will need to charge per dog and how many dogs she will need to walk in order to earn the complete amount in two years. Lulu finds three dogs to walk, but since she knows nothing about dogs she quickly finds herself in trouble. An annoying boy who lives down the street comes to her rescue, but he quits when she under-appreciates him. Without his help, she is soon tied to a tree by the largest of her charges as he runs around the tree and entangles her with the leash. The annoying boy returns and they work things out after an entire afternoon of sharing what bothers them about each other. They decide to split the money, and although they don't become friends, they do find that they are able to work together quite well thereafter.
Lulu begins the book with very few redeeming qualities and ends the book with only a few more. She is very self-absorbed. The story is told by an observer with a humorous voice who occasionally expresses personal opinions about the characters and events of the story. This narrator expresses describes Lulu and the annoying perfect kid down the street in a way that shows empathy as well as humor for the person reading the book. This gives the book a rapid pace and a self-effacing point of view. This is a good book but misses excellence by not giving Lulu and the boy down the street an opportunity to make a mutually beneficial friendship for future books in the series. Perhaps that is the point and the author will give them a different relationship in future sagas. It is nice that the story makes a point of the fact that people do not have to be friends to work well together. The black-and-white illustrations are amazing.