Fox, Mem. Koala Lou. Harcourt Brace & Company: Orlando, Florida, 1988. ISBN 0152000763
Everyone loves Koala Lou, but no one loves her more than her mom, who tells her every day “Koala Lou, I DO love you.” But when her mom has more babies, she has less time for Koala Lou. Her goal is to hear her mom tell her she loves her, and Koala Lou is determined to win a race in order to hear those words again.
This book is set in Australia, so it features animals that we’re not quite used to seeing in picture books. Emus, platypodes, ant eaters, and colorful birds are included and gives the book a nice exotic feel to it. (At least, for those of us who don’t live in Australia.) However, that’s where the cultural markers end.
This is a beautiful book about a mother’s unconditional love for her child, but how a busy life can keep the mom from expressing it.
“Every night, as she curled up under the stars, Koala Lou thought about the times when her mother had looked at her and said, ‘Koala Lou, I DO love you!’ and she longed for her to say it again.” (pg. 10)
It’s also about how children deal with their busy parents, and the lengths they will go to in order to gain their love and acceptance.
“She would compete in the gum tree climbing event, and she would win, and her mother would fling her arms around her neck and say again, ‘Koala Lou, I DO love you!'” (pg. 10)
Finally, Koala Lou realizes she doesn’t have to win a race to win her mother’s love, she’s had it all along.
I thought this book was beautiful. The over all message of love is powerful and touching, especially as a busy mom.
The illustrations are nicely done. The tones are natural with a bit of vibrant variation. The animals are true to their color but Lofts gives pops of color in the streamers and the emu’s hat, for example.
The cute and colorful illustrations and the acknowledgement of children’s feelings will keep the kids interested.
From The Horn Book:
“A first-rate choice for bedtime, story hour, or reading aloud.”
From Kirkus Review:
“This satisfying reworking of a familiar and ever-important theme is appealingly illustrated–bright colors, soft-edged sculptural forms, precise detail, dozens of expressive animals. Another winning import from one of Australia’s favorite authors.”
From Publisher’s Weekly:
“Koala Lou is loved by everyone, but it is her mother who loves her most of all. She often tells her daughter, “Koala Lou, I DO love you.” As the family grows and her mother gets busier, Koala Lou yearns to hear those words again. She sets out to win the Bush Olympics as a way to gain her mother’s attention. Lofts’s colored-pencil drawings portray the Australian flora and fauna beautifully, including a few of the more exotic species.”
The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn ISBN 978-1933718002
Llama Llama Misses Mama by Anna Dwedney ISBN 978-0670061983
I Love You All Day Long by Francesca Rusackas ISBN 978-0060502782
Other books by Mem Fox:
Possum Magic ISBN 978-1862910959
Hattie and the Fox ISBN 978-0689716119
Tough Boris ISBN 978-0152018917
Draw a picture of you and someone you love.