- Series: A Lola Zola Book
- Paperback: 192 pages
- Publisher: INscribe Digital; 2 edition (November 5, 2014)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1625176848
- ISBN-13: 978-1625176844
- Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.5 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 9.9 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 34 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,865,812 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Paperback – November 5, 2014
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In most ways this book is a good choice for parents wanting their children to read things of value. The romance is age appropriate, the language stays clean without becoming stilted, the parents are married and committed even when dealing with problems. Alcoholism is dealt with, but as a problem that needs care. I like how the characters confront challenges. I think its wonderful that the issues are seen from both a parent and a child's perspective where everyone respects each other. (Spoiler: Maybe the young girls dancing on the hood of a convertible while saying "Squeeze, Squeeze, Squeeze" would get the movie a PG rating. It would really depend on the costumes and choreography so I think its safe for children to read in book form.)
I thought I should mention the religious things in the book so parents could make an informed decision about them. Lola refers multiple times to a "god" in a somewhat satirical polytheistic sense. [Spoiler: For example, concern for acne inspires Lola to thank the "Blackhead God." Concern for her lemonade stand profits leads to promises to the "Dollar Sign God." There are about ten or so references to these lesser gods, all as capital letter "God." There's a "Spelling Bee God" and a "Rump God." Other gods too.] I imagine parents with a strongly monotheistic viewpoint might want to address this with a reader between eight and twelve. As a religious educator, I find these as a teachable moment. I'd explain that the word "god" means something which people cannot control, like rain and floods. In ancient times, people prayed to many gods because they felt out of control. The funny gods that Lola names are just like those ancient gods; things she cannot control in her life. Monotheistic religions acknowledge that there are things outside the control of humanity, but have a viewpoint where we consider these forces as connected. So we only have a single God, who controls everything which are beyond our own capabilities.
Lola also prays in a fictitious church with ambivalence and questioning rather than intense faith. "Unity Center" is a hodgepodge of eastern thought and globalism and it parodies rather than espouses the viewpoints of the granola eating post baby boom compromises between faith and fraternity crowd. I thought it was a hoot. But depending on the age of your children and their exposure to churches other than their own, they may benefit from guidance through this part of the book. As a religious educator, I would just tell my kids that it was a pretend church and that while some real religious places have each of these approaches, nobody really prays that way. The authors wanted us to be able to laugh at ourselves; they weren't telling us what to believe.
The book, "Lola Zola" is about a witty and thoughtful sixth grader from "the other side of the tracks". She is smart and popular with her classmates. She runs for sixth grade president and the issue of a fair count of voting comes up. Lola proves that paper ballots can't be hacked, and wins. When hard economic times strike at home, Lola decides to do her part because the one factory in town where her father works is closing down. People are left to their own devices. The workers have no protections despite how long, hard or loyal they have been. No where do you hear of a government that seeks to re-train any of these people by investing in renewal energy projects or repairs to the infrastructure. Just as many have spoken of holding a bake sale to pay for the necessities of decent jobs, a school or local clinic, Lola opens a lemonade stand. The ins and outs of setting up a business include unfair competition, esp. by the big rich guy against the poorer little guy. And still, you have lots of humor in this story, including Bowzer the cat who lost his tail, and Lola's best friend Melanie always counting her freckles. We have intrigue as to how Lola will find a way to outsmart Buck's father who is power hungry and will do anything to win. His son, Buck, has none of these traits and is always intimidated and criticized by his father. Many of the ways life is challenging us today are cleverly woven into a healthy and positive story. This is a book for adolescent children that will inspire and inform them, and give teachers a chance to talk about many important issues facing us today. I will surely see that my grammar school grand-daughter has a chance to read this.