by Nina Gruener
photographs by Stephanie Rausser
Publisher: Cameron + Company
Reading level: C
Book type: picture book
The lovely follow-up to Kiki & Coco in Paris, Lulu & Pip tells the story of a girl, Lulu, and her doll, Pip, as they leave the busy city life for a rustic camping adventure. Featuring once again the beautiful photographs of Stephanie Rausser, the charming doll by Jess Brown, and story by Nina Gruener.
(synopsis from Goodreads)
I have to say, I haven't read a ton of children's picture books that use photographs rather than illustrations. I do remember reading a few in my own childhood, but I don't remember them being as cute as Lulu & Pip.
The story is pretty simple: a little girl and her doll best friend (and, presumably, her mother... though we never see her!) leave the busy city and head off for a fun camping trip, leaving all their technology and gadgets behind. They get to enjoy a campfire and marshmallows, swimming in the lake, and some exciting exploring.
The style of the photographs reminds me of a trendy catalog. It's not the most realistic camping trip; the girl gets to stay in a cute little teepee with twinkle lights, and every piece of clothing she wears looks like it was bought in a vintage-inspired boutique! Lulu does mention -- as she struggles toward the campsite in her flouncy skirt and turquoise booties, tugging her old-fashioned suitcase behind her -- that perhaps they overpacked (and overdressed!), so at least there's some acknowledgment of the slightly unrealistic scenes.
I did notice some continuity issues with the photographs. At one point, when Lulu and Pip go exploring, Lulu's wearing shoes and her hair is tied back. In the next picture, her feet are bare. Her hair is loose. Then her shoes are inexplicably back on her feet and the ponytail is in place. I'm not sure if kids would notice, but I did; it's kind of a shame, because it was distracting enough to disrupt the flow of the story for me.
Pip, the doll, is a Jess Brown doll. I had no idea what those were until I read the book. It's probably best not to let your kids know that they can have their own Pip. The dolls cost nearly two hundred dollars! Now I'm cringing, thinking about how Pip went "swimming" in the lake...
All in all, it's a cute book with adorable photographs. I'd probably recommend it to very young girls.
Recommended to: little girls; fans of vintage-inspired fashion
Overall: 3.5 out of 5