Lola Levine and the Ballet Scheme
by Monica Brown, illus. Angela Dominguez
As a text for emergent readers, this book features short chapters, a larger font size, and illustrative typefaces representing “handwritten” communication. The first-person story is direct, engaging, and it stands alone start to finish. While some characters likely popular in other parts of the series (including Lola’s friend Josh and little brother Ben) don’t get a lot of airtime, the spotlight on Lola and her friendship with Bella allows for the girls’ backgrounds and interests to be normalized and affirmed. Dominguez’s comforting digital illustrations (which show up in grayscale on full pages and between pieces of text) offer readers scaffolding, furthering representation of plot points as well as the characters’ identities and emotions.
Reviewed by Elisa Gall