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Review: Little Lulu: The Burglar-Proof Clubhouse and Other Stories

Lulu Moppet lives on Main Street and spends most of her time getting into–and out of–trouble. Lulu and her neighbors Tubby, Annie, Iggy, and Fifi are mischievous, fun-loving, and silly kids and their comic adventures are as enjoyable today as they were when Lulu’s comic books were first issued. This is the 25th volume of Dark Horse’s re-release of Lulu’s stories and covers October 1958 through March 1959 in full-color.

Little Lulu: The Burglar-Proof Clubhouse and Other Stories
Story and Art by John Stanley and Irving Tripp; Based on the character created by Marge Buell
Ages 8+; Grades 3+
Dark Horse, November 2010, ISBN978-1-59582-539-1
200 pages, $14.99

I’m not a classic comic buff, so when I say that I enjoy the Little Lulu comics, I’m speaking from a present day mindset, not one of nostalgia. Lulu’s stories have all the elements kids look for in humor comics: silliness, realism taken to the extreme, believable characters, and light, fun artwork. Stanley and Tripp obviously knew how kids think and act and they mined that knowledge for every humorous bit they could find. See Lulu and Tubby try to live up to their outrageous New Year’s resolutions. See Lulu drive her parents crazy as she tries to “help” get ready for Christmas. See Lulu make up outlandish tales to entertain the younger kids in the neighborhood. See Lulu and Annie’s picnic ruined by bothersome boys. By taking ordinary situations that every child can identify with and putting just the right silly twist on them, Stanley and Tripp created stories which work as well for kids today as they did when my mom was reading them fifty-two years ago.

Stanley and Tripp’s artwork has held up as well as their storylines. Though readers might sense the stories’ age because of a character’s clothes, there really isn’t anything that points to these stories as “old.” The colors do seem a touch old-fashioned, but Dark Horse has printed them on bright white paper, freshening them up enough to make the panels crisp and easy to read. The only truly dating element are a few stories which feature outdated references to “red injuns,” but those are few and far between and don’t detract from the overall quality of the stories. Dark Horse also doesn’t make the mistake of adding a lengthy introduction or other reminiscent writing which would only be ignored by the majority of readers. This volume is a terrific addition to children’s graphic novel collections. It will be fondly remembered by grandparents and children who appreciate modern day realistic humor such as Amelia Rules! (by Jimmy Gownley from Simon & Schuster) will find Lulu to be Amelia’s kindred spirit.

This review is based on a complimentary copy supplied by the publisher. All images copyright © Dark Horse.

Snow Wildsmith About Snow Wildsmith

Snow Wildsmith is a writer and former teen librarian. She has served on several committees for the American Library Association/Young Adult Library Services Association, including the 2010 Michael L. Printz Award Committee. She reviews graphic novels for Booklist, ICv2's Guide, No Flying No Tights, and Good Comics for Kids and also writes booktalks and creates recommended reading lists for Ebsco's NoveList database. Currently she is working on her first books, a nonfiction series for teens.

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