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Reviewed by Kristine Zimmerman for Readers' Favorite
Susana Illera Martínez's new book, Lala: A Different Kind of Lizard/ Una Lagartija Diferente is a story that celebrates individuality. Lala's family consists of her mom, dad, and two sisters. Lala goes to school and plays at the pond, but Lala has an unusual friend, a spider named Ari. Her sisters tease her and tell her she shouldn't be friends with her food. Unlike the rest of her family, Lala doesn't eat insects but is a vegetarian instead. She's kept this hidden from her parents until one evening when the truth comes out. Lala runs away from home with her friend Ari, afraid that her parents won't accept her. She and Ari meet a surprising creature that shares some wisdom with them. What will happen to Lala and Ari?
Susana Illera Martínez's bilingual English and Spanish book will be a crowd pleaser. Lala is an engaging character with a sweet and gentle heart. The illustrations by Natalia Jiménez Osorio are bright and colorful. Lala has a jaunty lily pad-like hat and her friend Ari, the spider, is depicted with two large eyes, one small eye, and colorful, striped legs. Kids will identify with Lala's worries about being different and being accepted. The wisdom shared at the end is very powerful both for adults and kids to hear. Lala: A Different Kind of Lizard/ Una Lagartija Diferente will make a perfect read-aloud during storytime or in the classroom. Hopefully, there are more stories in the works about Lala and her best friend, Ari!