Title: Introducing D’Lila LaRue
Author: Nette Hilton and A. Yi
Publisher: Walker Books Australia
Published: 3rd March 2021
Synopsis: D’Lila LaRue lives in the smallest house with the neatest fence and the rosiest garden in the street with her trusty sidekick, Nanny-Anny (who is probably very old but it doesn’t matter). This trilogy of stories features D’Lila and Nanny-Anny sharing many fun-filled adventures, whether it’s by building an award-winning rose garden, becoming an artist, or attending a favourite play. Even if things don’t go exactly to plan . . .
- These delightful stories from two beloved Australian creators feature endearing characters that will entice young readers to engage in imaginative storytelling
- With large readable type and a combination of vignette and double spread illustrations, the ratio of text to graphics is perfect for beginning readers who like to be read to and conquer longer stories themselves.
- The subject matter of each of the stories and the order in which they appear are specially chosen to appeal to 5- to 8-year-old readers. They begin close to home in the garden and move slowly out into the wider community.
Welcome to D’Lila LaRue’s world, where she spends her days with Nanny-Anny looking after the rosiest garden in the street, going to art class or seeing a play in the big city. D’Lila LaRue often gets into mischief though, even when she is trying to help and do nice things for people. She loves to help – but not everyone appreciates it.
First, D’Lila , Nanny-Anny and Mrs Next Door are getting ready for a rose competition – and D’Lila is determined that they should both win. Her delightful optimism, and care throughout this story leads to some beautiful and unforeseen results and proves that being kind and generous is more important than winning.
In the second story, D’Lila LaRue and Nanny-Anny are off to see a stage show of The Jungle Bok – but will they get there in time, and can they find the right bus? D’Lila’s ambition to help everyone get where they need to go nay backfire – and what will happen if she sleepwalks at the theatre? The second story is filled with fun as well, and a nice dollop of misunderstandings that are seen in good humour – and that enrich and develop D’Lila LaRue’s character.
Finally, in the third book, Nanny-Anny and D’Lila head to art class – but there is a new teacher who likes things to be precise – and doesn’t like interruptions! But what is D’Lila supposed to do when a spider appears? Can she save art class?
The stories have a lovely continuity about them. Each opens in the same way, introducing D’Lila and Nanny-Anny to the reader, and moves from the interior world of D’Lila’s home to the wider community and her interactions with them. It shows the expansion of a young child’s world in a delightful way, and always takes them back home to safety. D’Lila LaRue has parents who are always away for work – but she has lots of fun with Nanny-Anny, and that’s the crux of these stories – D’Lila’s relationship with Nanny-Anny, the wider community and seeking some independence but not too much. It is perfect to teach children how to read, or for those already reading to build their confidence.
This book is lovely, and filled with wonderful childlike innocence that we have all experienced. I loved that D’Lila’s world was tech-free – perhaps a chance to show younger readers what they can do without technology, or to encourage activities that don’t require technology from time to time. These three stories are fun and filled with joy and laughter. They’re great for any reader aged five and older, encourage literacy and independent reading as the words work exquisitely with the pictures, and makes the story come to life beautifully. I devoured this in one sitting, but it can be savoured and split across several readings. Each story builds on what has come before, and is a lovely example of junior fiction from some of the wonderful talent we have in Australia.