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I Am Too Absolutely Small for School - Lauren Child

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6 Reviews

Genre: Junior Books / Author: Lauren Child / Hardcover / Reading Level: Ages 4-8 / 32 Pages / Book is published 2004-07 by Candlewick Press (MA)

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    6 Reviews
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      21.11.2012 16:30
      Very helpful



      A treat for Charlie and Lola fans!

      Sibling rivalry
      For those of you who aren't familiar with Charlie and Lola, they are a brother and sister double act from a popular children's BBC series and are just celebrating their 10th anniversary. They have an interesting and quirky use of language, just as 'real' children tend to, and the programme is interesting for a few reasons. Firstly the animation is two-dimensional and almost a bit scruffy looking, and there are occasionally real images used. There also tend to be fantasy scenes where the characters end up in strange imagined scenarios.

      The books are faithful to these quirks, with some real photos being used and the quirky animation intact.

      Time for school Lola
      In this particular book, Lola decides she is far too small to go to school, and is also too busy. Charlie tries several techniques to talk her into it including the temptations that learning brings such as reading, writing and counting up to 100. by the end of the story, Lola has come home happy from her first day at school with a lovely new friend!

      This is a nice story as it addresses the fear that young children may feel at starting at a new school, and also the ridiculous (but sometimes brilliant) excuses they come up with not to go! The illustrations are great and will appeal to all Charlie and Lola fans - they are quirky and scrawly, and my daughter's favourite is the page of multiple Lolas all wearing "schooliform".

      Wonky text
      The one complaint I do have about this book is that a lot of the text is written in wiggly lines, swirls and so on which I find quite difficult (and sometimes annoying!) to read so this may be a problem for older children who like reading books as it may prove a bit of a struggle - or you could say a challenge!

      But overall this has been a hit so far and I am sure there will be more Charlie and Lola books in my little girl's library before long.

      Overall this is a really nice book and I highly recommend it to Charlie and Lola fans! I reckon it is good from about 3 years and up.

      This currently costs £4.33 on amazon.

      == Summary: ==


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      16.12.2008 23:52
      Very helpful



      Why does Lola have to go to school? This book includes magic!

      I bought a set of books for my daughter from the book people. The set was 10 books buy Lauren Child in the set was a book called "I am too absolutely small for school" This book has proven to be popular with my 6 year-old daughter. Tonight when I put her to bed, she asked for this book to be read to her. This was the first time I have read this book and I thought it was very good.

      Lauren Child has written a lot of book many of them are about the characters Lola and Charlie they are also featured on TV. Lola and Charlie are very popular with young children.

      I am too absolutely small for school is a lovely book about Lola starting school. Lola's older brother Charlie is a bright button and has loads of ideas and advice to put Lola's mind at rest about starting school.

      Starting school can be a scary time for children and this book could help many children relax and answer some of there questions and concerns about school.

      Lola does not think she needs to go to school because she can already count to 10 etc but Charlie explains all the advantages to school. Lola's insecurities come out through here invisible friend Soren Lorensen who is worried about going to school because she might have to sit on her own and have no friends. Lola and (invisible friend) Soren Lorensen go to school together and have a great time.

      This book is written in a fun and interesting style using different fonts and writing on different angles including swirling around the page, which is great, fun but not very easy for a young reader to read as some of the words go upside down etc. I love the illustrations in the book every page is full of pictures or Lola and Charlie and they are simple drawings.

      This book is also magic.... Soren Lorensen who is Lola's invisible friend can be seen lurking on some pages. I do not know how but she is there if you catch the light right you can see a figure on the last few pages. I pointed this out to my daughter and she had never noticed it before.

      I love the way Lauren Child books cover some important subject for young children is such a fun and enjoyable way. She is a fantastic writer but I do wish Lola and Charlie would speak properly as when you are teaching a child to speak and read you don't really want them saying sentences incorrectly! I am too absolutely small for school. Please take the too out it does not go there!

      This book can be bought in most good bookshops or very reasonable at the book people the RRP is £5.99 the book has 31 wonderfully illustrated pages. The pages really catch the child's attention by making the writing and illustrations interesting.

      I would recommend this book it is lovely. I would also say it is a great book for children who are about to start school as it could open up conversation and a way to discuss concerns about school.


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      17.08.2008 18:45
      Very helpful



      A nice story for adult and child to share together.

      The main characters in this book, Lola and Charlie, star in a children's cartoon, which immediately catches the interest of children to see characters they are familiar with in a different context. The story follows Charlie as he tries to persuade his younger sister Lola that starting school is a good idea. As the story progresses he questions her view of everything she needs to know, and calms some of her worries about school. Lola eventually agrees that going to school will be a good thing for all the interesting and useful things she will learn, but disguises her worries in the worries of her imaginary friend.
      This is a fun book to read, but is perhaps better suited to being read aloud by an adult rather than a child alone. This is because some of the language is grammatically incorrect, which may be confusing to a young reader, but shouldn't present a problem when spoken aloud by an adult, who makes it clear that this incorrect language is representing the voice of Lola in the story, which naturally means that it may not always be correct.
      Not only is the story fun and covering an important topic, the illustrations are lovely. With her mixed artwork, combining bright paints, photography, and unique typography, Child creates vibrant and highly entertaining illustrations, which are probably a large part of the books appeal.
      I found the typography and layout of the book to be particularly interesting. On some pages the text follows a typical left to right, top to bottom pattern. But on other pages, the text uses not only different fonts, but twists and turns all over the page, causing the reader to actually have to read upside down at some points. Even though this book is not always grammatically correct, it could be just the one to encourage a reluctant reader, as a book they have to twist and turn to read is such a deviation from the norm that it may just catch their attention.
      This book could be used by the adult to start a general conversation with the children to identify and address any worries they may have about school.


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      24.03.2008 15:54
      Very helpful
      1 Comment



      Great book

      I am too absolutely small for school

      The book has won several prizes including the Smarties Gold Award and the kate Greenaway Medal, and has been heralded as the book that "no first timer should start school without..." (Sunday Times).

      ##THE STORY##

      Featuring the popular children's characters Charlie and Lola, the story focuses on Little sister Lola who is big enough for school, but is undecided as to whether she is actually old enough or indeed whether she has enough time for school. Charlie suggests that at school Lola will learn numbers but Lola believes she needs only her fingers and her toes to do all the counting she will need to do. Similarly with letters, when Charlie suggests that Lola might want to learn her letters, Lola tells him that she can telephone people although she is a tad more dubious when Charlie tells her that she has to write a letter to santa Claus.

      So the story continues with Lola disputing all the suggestions made by Charlie and with Charlie giving a perfectly logical reason as to why she should go to school. When Lola says she doesn't need to read secret messages and books in her head, there is a big picture of a scary ogre who won't sleep until Lola reads him a story.

      Eventually Lola agrees that whilst she would like to be able to read a story to an ogre and put letters up a chimney, she will not wear a uniform. Charlie tells her that at their school, they can wear whatever they like, and Lola finds the perfect outfit an alligator outfit! Children do find it funny when they see Lola standing in the kitchen in her outfit, but Charlie tells her that alligator is for best and for school, stripes are best. Again, Lola agrees with Charlie but what she refuses to do is eat school dinners, and when Charlie says she can take a packed lunch, Loa worries that she will have to eat all alone. It's at this stage Charlie tells Lola that she will make lots of new friends, But Lola wants to eat lunch at home with her imaginary friend who no one can see. I wonder how Charlie is so patient with all of theequestions, but he merely tells Lola that her imaginary friend will be at school with Lola.

      This is where we get to the crux of the matter- Lola is nervous and she puts all of her anxieties onto her imaginary friend. Charlie reassures her that it will all be ok and after school she can have a pint of milk at home. When Lola goes to school, Charlie worries about her because he can't see her but at the end of the day she is skipping home with someone else. Just to end it, Lola makes it clear that although Charlie was trying to be nice to her, she was never nervous, it was her imaginary friend who was scared!


      What I really like about this book are the illustrations and the text. The text wraps itself round the pictures and sometimes it's written on the actual items the children are talking about whether this be the telephone, the biscuits or Lola's fingers. Not only are there words but also numbers which is great to encourage children to recognise the fact that a written number is the same as the figure. The illustrations are simply drawn line pictures but sometimes it looks as though they are photographs, for example, when Lola is counting the biscuits. Sometimes the text is in boxes kind of cartoon style and sometimes it curls and snakes round the page, and to emphasis points, the font is different sizes. This can make the book quite difficult for very young children to read independently because they often don't know where the text goes next, but because the language is quite simple, children who have a grasp of reading should find it ok to read, especially if they have had the book read to them previously.


      ISBN: 1-84362-366-8

      Publisher: Orchard Books, 2003


      A quite prolific and very popular author, books include:

      I will not ever never eat a tomato
      I am not sleepy and I will not go to bed
      Who's Afraid of the big bad book?
      Beware of the story book wolves
      My Uncle is a Hunkle


      This is a great book to read to children who are starting not only school, but anything which they have never tried before. It takes into account very real issues of feeling nervous and allows children to be scared of things without their fears being belittled. The book touches on such a common topic that even children older than school starters will appreciate the value of it and can take on the "role" of Charlie, expressing concerns and finding solutions and remedies.

      The illustrations are simple and because the text is often in comic book style, the book becomes more than just a picture story book, and can be enjoyed by older children without them feeling that they are reading a book which is too easy for them


      Thanks for reading.

      Daniela x


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        28.12.2006 08:46
        Very helpful



        An absolutely too good read!

        'I am Too Absolutely Small for School' is a brilliant book which is written by Lauren Child and features the characters Charlie and Lola who can be seen on Cbeebies every day.

        This is an animated TV series which centres on a boy called Charlie, who I would guess is about seven, and his younger sister Lola who is probably about four. Lola always has very strong opinions about lots of things, and Charlie always tries to put her straight! The TV series is really quite endearing and the same can be said of this book too.

        'I am Too Absolutely Small for School' is Lola's opinion when she discovers that she is soon to start school. She claims that she is really far too busy with lots of important things to do at home and will not have time for school. As we go through the book, big brother Charlie tries to reason with her telling her about all the things she will be able to do, like learning her numbers up to 100, and learning her letters so she will be able to write notes to people and read books, and so on. For all of these, Lola has her own argument - she only needs to count up to ten and she can always phone people rather than send messages!

        Lola finally agrees that she would really like to learn all these things, but really what she does not like is the idea of wearing a uniform or eating school dinner. Charlie points out that she can wear what she likes and she can take a packed lunch.

        Charlie's final argument is that Lola will make lots of new friends at school, to which Lola replies that she doesn't need new friends, as she has her own friend - Soren Lorensen, who is actually her imaginary friend. Charlie points out that Soren will be going to school and will be very lonely and scared without Lola to look after him! this is the argument that sways Lola, who in due course heads off to school, only to find that it is not as bad as she thought it would be!

        I think that this is a very enjoyable and amusing book, but also would be a good one to share with a child before they start at school. It brings up lots of worries that children might have, but would also give them the chance to think of other worries as well. I am sure thoughts about uniform ands school dinners are big worries to some children.

        Most of the book is written as a conversation between Charlie and Lola, and the words sound just like they are spoken on the TV programme. This is quite a challenge for a parent reading to a child because you want to get the voices right, and my daughter is quite happy to point out that Lola wouldn't say it like that! Lola also has a really funny turn of phrase which I love, many of which make her sound like a little old lady!

        The way that the text is set out in the book is very interesting too! On each page, Lauren Child has done something different with the layout - sometimes the words are different sizes,on other pages they are dancing and swirling all over the place (a bit like Lola!). The words are very rarely set out as traditional text in straight lines! Although this is fun and makes the pages more appealing, I would not recommend it for children who are just starting to read as the words would be very difficult to follow!

        The illustrations are lovely - Charlie and Lola are just very simple line drawings but manage to have very expressive faces as well. All the illustrations are the same as the animated characters on TV.

        The book is published by Orchard Books with an RRP of £5.99. I certainly would recommend it for pre-school children, particularly if they are fans of the TV series!


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          13.12.2006 11:20
          Very helpful



          Charlie manages to convince his sister of how exciting the first day of school can be

          Author:/Illustrator: Lauren Child
          Publisher: Candlewick Press
          Publish Date: August 2005
          Genre: Children's Picture Book
          Age Suitability: 4 - 8 (This is according to the publisher's my 2 ½ year old reads them now and I would suggest this would be of interest to kids older than 6)
          Number of Pages: 32
          Amazon Price: £4.74 RRP: £5.99

          ***About the Author*** (as found in I'm no tired...)
          39 year old Lauren Child, borne to an Art teacher father grew up in Wiltshire. She studied art at both Manchester Polytechnic and City and Guilds of London Art School although she admits to learning very little during her time there. Shortly after leaving school, Child started a business making exotic lampshades.

          Child's first writing efforts resulted in the popular Clarice Bean which was published in 1999 and she hasn't looked back since. She has gone on to write over twenty children's books and win a Kate Greenaway Medal for her artwork, chosen to promote 2000's World Book Day.

          ***Who are Charlie and Lola***
          For those of you who haven't read any of the Charlie and Lola series, you may have seen the tv adaptation of the books on BBC or Nickelodeon Junior.

          Lola, is a cute little blonde girl with a wonderful imagination and a great sense of humour. Her older brother Charlie who is often left in charge of his sister (we never do meet their parents….) is possibly the most patient pre-teen ever! He is forever having to accommodate Lola and often has to call on his own equally vivid imagination in order to encourage her to do whatever it is he is trying to get her to do.

          ****Other Charlie and Lola Books***
          I've won, no I've won, no I've won
          Whoops! But it wasn't me
          We honestly can look after your dog
          I will never not ever eat a tomato
          I am not sleepy and will not go to bed

          ***What's it all about***
          Lola has reached the age where she is to go to school. Understandably, she is a little nervous and makes up loads of excuses why she can't go to school. Charlie, being his usual patient and kind self - nothing like my brother was does everything he can to reassure her that her invisible friend Soren Lorensen can go to school too, and tries to ease Lola's first day jitters.

          Of course, and I don't think I am giving anything away here, Lola has a great first day and even makes a friend called Lotta (Lotta goes on to appear in other stories such as "We honestly can look after your Dog" as Lola's best friend.)

          ***What did we think of the story***
          I love Charlie and Lola and this book is no exception. Charlie gently points out to his little sister that she needs to learn to count past 10 and Lola explains she doesn't because she never eats more than 10 biscuits at one time. He tells her she will learn to write letters so she can tell Santa what she wants for Christmas. Lola prefers telephones - they are more "straight-away." When she complains about wearing a uniform, Charlie reassures her that her school has no uniform and she can wear what ever she wants. She takes his words seriously and returns in a crocodile suit only to have Charlie tell her Crocodile suits "are for best" For school, "stripes are nice."

          The writing is funny and almost poetic. Lola's parts are written exactly like she would speak or as any child would before grammar becomes a part of their life. This style is incredibly endearing.

          Child writes with such a vivid imagination that she manages to make the most mundane activities sound like an exciting adventure that Lola can't bring herself to miss out on.

          *Educational Value*
          This book encourages social awareness and skills to younger kids. It also acts as a great parental tool for those getting their little ones ready for the prospect of starting school for the first time.

          ***What did we think of the illustrations***
          Lauren Child uses a mixture of bold black lines, flat colours and pattered pieces to create what can best be described as a "Kaleidoscopic collage." Her characters are firstly drawn using pencils (she refuses to us ink or pen) before being cut out and transferred to the computer.

          This method results in a very layered style of illustration throughout the book giving the reader an awful lot to look at and take in. My son can spend hours dissecting all the imagery on one page of Lauren Childs work. The bright colours and busy patterns are extremely stimulating to any child and the quirky un-evenness Child uses adds to the child-like quality of her pictures.

          I also find the characters are much more prominent and recognisable in this manner of illustration as they represent a simpler, cleaner image which is in direct contrast to the messy, busy torn patterned pictures that make up the background.

          ***Overall impression***
          Great light-hearted story with bright and eye-catching illustrations sure to capture the hearts of your kids.


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