Girls Just Wanna Have Fun! Have Fun, Molly Lou Mellon by Patty Lovell and David Catrow
"When I was your age...."
Kids are sure to hear stories from their elders beginning with this predictable phrase. It usually goes on to some version of "we didn't have..." or "we had to...," and kids usually tune out at this point.
But this time Molly Lou Mellon actually listens to her Grandma's story:
"BACK IN THE OLDEN DAYS, I DIDN'T HAVE FANCY DOLLS OR ACTION FIGURES. I MADE THEM OUT OF TWIGS, LEAVES AND FLOWERS LIKE HOLLYHOCKS AND DAISIES."
Molly abandons the plastic whoseywhatsits in her overstuffed toy chest and tries out the do-it-yourself mode for herself.
She loots the flower gardens for fancy outfits and mines the backyard lawn and garden gear for her own fanciful doll house in the treetops. She follows Grandma's model and raids the garage for all kinds of boxes from which to build the coolest toy race car ever, and abandons those cliched cartoon networks to watch passing cloud shapes.
Then one day, Molly gets a new neighbor, Gertie, who is heard to complain:
"I'M BORED, BORED, BORED!"
Gertie's got gobs of store-bought stuff, but when Gertie comes over, Mollie shows her a whole new way to play.
ON TUESDAY, GERTIE DROVE OVER IN HER BATTERY-OPERATED FULLY LOADED COUPE DE VILLE.
"LOOK OUT BELOW!" SCREAMED MOLLIE LOU MELLON, RIGHT BEFORE HURTLING DOWN THE HILL IN HER TURBO BOX CAR, HAND PAINTED WITH ORANGE AND RED FLAMES.
GERTIE WAS AMAZED.
What's better than a girl with a great imagination? Two girls who share their imaginations and create some amazing playtime experiences! Molly proves a great guru of Grandma's lessons, and Gertie is soon outdoing her new friend with her fanciful ideas in Patty Lovell's Have Fun, Molly Lou Melon (G. P. Putnam's Sons, 2012). Lovell's narration sets the stage, but leans heavily on the kooky illustrative style of David Catrow, whose outrageous contraptions and stylish artistic invention keep this one well on the comic side of didacticism. Kids will find plenty of inspiration in Catrow's unique and witty cartoons, and maybe, just maybe they'll take themselves outdoors to see what they can do with a little imagination, too.