Reviews /

Lola Saves The Show

Authored by Katherine Halligan
Illustrated by Guilherme Karston
Published by Walker Books

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Lola Saves the Show is a really fun picture book. Set in the theatre on opening night, the star of the show, Lola a thespian goat, realises that all is not well, something is missing from the prop table, something that is very important. She must find this quickly so the show can begin. Lola sets off on a madcap journey through the theatre wreaking havoc everywhere.

Written in collaboration with the National Theatre this quirky tale takes us on a whirlwind tour backstage of the theatre. Lola visits each department involved in putting on a production searching for the missing item. We follow Lola to the green room, where actors are waiting to go on stage, and in turn to costume, make up and props. There is a great sense of movement throughout the book and a really good use of the space on the pages whether full page spreads or split pages.

The descriptions of the departments use terms that simplify their use rather than using their official titles, making it fun to read. For example, the stupendous space of delicious dresses is the wardrobe department and the room of weird and wonderful worlds is the prop room. There is an extensive glossary at the end which nicely ties up the real departments and their functions. Lots of terrific talking points here.

I particularly liked the double page spread which shows Lola’s entire journey and her determination to locate the missing prop so the show can go on. It clearly shows the frantic route she takes around the theatre.

There is a great variety of illustration throughout the book, sometimes using full page and sometimes using cameo shapes. The text is clear and both text and illustration complement each other well. Although the colour palette is quite muted, there is great use of shadow to set the theatrical tone throughout.

This is a lovely book to share or use at story time, in early years and KS1 classrooms, to talk about theatre and plays. There is plenty of scope for discussion if only what is the missing prop and why is it so important that Lola finds it.