Lisa Doucet Reviews Two New Books by Lori Doody: Lana Llama and Mr. Beagle Climbs Signal Hill
Lori Doody’s latest offerings feature a new animal friend who learns to value her uniqueness and another adventure for an already beloved character. In “Lana Llama,” when Lana realizes she is not like the other members of her flock, she becomes self-conscious and tries her best to make herself more like them. But when she becomes aware of a bully who has been harassing her pals, she knows that she is just the one to take a stand for her sheep friends.
Meanwhile, Mr. Beagle and a whole host of his neighbours decide to hike up Signal Hill and do some whale watching in the latest book in his series. Along the way, it becomes clear that someone is stealing snacks from the hikers’ backpacks! Once again, Mr. Beagle puts his deductive skills to the test.
Both of these books use spare, succinct text along with cleverly detailed illustrations to tell their tales and engage their readers. Mr. Beagle follows his predictable pattern, in which he formulates a suspicion, eventually discovers the culprit(s), and their motives end up eliciting sympathy and support from Mr. Beagle and the rest of the hikers. Understated humour, precise and fine-lined artwork and a caring, close-knit community make Mr. Beagle’s story a cozy and whimsical delight.
The uncluttered and cheerful illustrations in Lana Llama adeptly convey Lana’s feelings that she doesn’t belong because she is different and her desire to make herself fit in. The straightforward and uncomplicated message about the value of being yourself is delivered simply as Lana decides to stand up for her friends and learns that standing out from the crowd can be a good thing. Valuable life lessons in playful, quirky and distinctively illustrated packages, these new additions to Doody’s ouevre will be warmly welcomed.