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Louise the Big Cheese: Divine Diva
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know there is little of concern in this tale of friendship and humility. Louise acts selfishly and is unkind to her friend, but by the time of the big show she’s learned to let go of her ego and share the stage. There are brief references to typical gossipy schoolgirl behavior -- the friends' silent spat persists even when another girl gets in trouble for coloring her nails with crayon and they have a substitute teacher "with wrinkly knees."
What's the story?
Louise Cheese loves being in the limelight and dreams of being “a big cheese” -- a big star. Naturally, she feels destined to land the starring role in her school’s production of Cinderella. But her friend Fern is chosen to play Cinderella and Louise is devastated to learn she’ll be a mouse. Sulky Louise stops speaking to her friend and pretends to her parents that she has the wished-for role. But when performance time comes, Louise finally embraces her role -- and her friend.
Is it any good?
Louise, despite her self-centered obsession with stardom, is a sweet and charming little heroine. Her me-first focus would be more trying if it weren’t for her enthusiasm. Her ugly reaction to getting a bit part in the play rings true and will resonate with any child who has felt left out or passed over. Her family plays a strong secondary role, letting Louise work her way through this difficult situation while they offer loving support.
The watercolor illustrations, saturated in pink and worked into the text, are lively, expressive, and full of fun details. Louise has behaved awfully to her friend, but it’s hard not to feel sorry for her as she stands before her parents in her bunny slippers and meekly admits she really won’t be Cinderella. And all must be forgiven when she smiles admiringly at her friend backstage, and then glows when it's her turn in the spotlight, even if she's just a mouse.
The watercolor illustrations, saturated in pink and worked into the text, are lively, expressive, and full of fun details.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the importance of supporting roles. Louise at first feels her role is small and unimportant. Would the play be as good without the mice? Look at the roles in a play or movie you’ve enjoyed and pay attention to the supporting roles. What do they contribute?
At the end of the play, Fern feels the pressure as the star of the show and freezes. Which would you be more comfortable with: the starring role or a smaller part?