Book Review: LaRue for Mayor
I remember running for student council when I was in 3rd grade. My campaign consisted of a short stump speech about my qualifications for the job and a slogan: Vote smart, vote Travis. The phrase allowed me to flatter my audience’s intelligence and tell them I was the best choice all in one statement. I think Ike LaRue, canine protagonist of “LaRue for Mayor”, would approve of my approach. With election season in full tilt “LaRue for Mayor” comes along to join in the politicking.
The plot is this: Hugo Bugwort is running for mayor and he is a very anti-dog candidate. Ike sabotages Bugwort’s campaign and eventually tries to start his own candidacy.
If you’re reading a LaRue book (there have been two previous titles), you’re gonna get two things: written correspondence and vocab. “Mayor” continues this trend. In the first page Mrs. LaRue is sent to the hospital, forcing her dog, Ike, to communicate with her through letters. The gaps in the story are filled in nicely with articles from the daily newspaper. I’m sure that inventive teachers have used LaRue books for teaching letter writing – they can now incorporate “Mayor” as well.
Some sample vocabulary? Perilous, scurrilous, doubtless – these are not your run of the mill words for a picture book. And that’s just a sample from one page. You’ve got to hand it to Mark Teague for using this language in a context that will help kids understand it. That’s learning y’all!
The artwork is spot on. Do I need to mention that this is Mr. Teague we’re talking about? The man’s already on Children’s Lit Rushmore (well, my Children’s Lit Rushmore – ask to see the plaster of paris model I’m working on in my garage), and really requires no further comment other than “It’s the cat’s pajamas”.
The storyline is where I start to have some hesitations. The plot makes sense, but it’s not quite as compelling as the previous “LaRue” installments. Ike filling in Mrs. LaRue about the state of Bugwort’s campaign didn’t have me turning the pages with the same level anticipation as in the past. This is, mind you, a minor quibble with an overall winner.
Find this book at your local library with WorldCat
Filed under: Reviews
About Travis Jonker
Travis Jonker is an elementary school librarian in Michigan. He writes reviews (and the occasional article or two) for School Library Journal and is a member of the 2014 Caldecott committee. You can email Travis at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow him on Twitter: @100scopenotes.
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