Noodle & Lou by L. G. Scanlon
Scanlon, Liz G. Noodle & Lou. Illus. Arthur Howard. New York: Beach Lane Books, 2011. Print.
In an unlikely animal pairing, Noodle, an earthworm who is having a bad day, turns to his buddy Lou, a perky blue jay, to cheer him up. While Noodle confides his feelings of envy about other worms living it up at Wiggly Field and catalogues all of his reasons for self-loathing, Lou counters with loyal support until finally Noodle cheers up. Lou’s patient, nurturing, and kind-hearted reassurance highlights the importance of friendship and self-acceptance. There are moments of entertaining weirdness in the book like when Noodle reasonably complains “My head has no eyes” but at times the text is clichéd and seems forced to fit into the rhyming scheme. The book does not stray from the author’s purposive, straightforward storyline and lessons—developing self-esteem, supporting friends, and appreciating who you are. Kids will pay attention to the thick-lined, colourful drawings and try to spot other bugs and birds found in the illustrations. The illustrations get progressively brighter and more detailed as Noodle’s mood brightens. Noodle is drawn as a ball-cap wearing, charming worm who expresses a surprising range of emotions through body language and his mouth. Noodle & Lou is an old-fashioned story about the importance of friendship. It is aimed at children ages 4-6.
Recommended with reservations: 2 out of 4 stars
Reviewer: Tami Oliphant