Little Lulu: Sunday Afternoon

Those who have vaguely heard of this historic character will be pleasantly surprised by how fresh and entertaining her adventures are. These stories are some of her earliest, try-outs before Lulu got her own long-running series.

The humor stems from Lulu’s irrepressible unflappability. The book opens with Lulu kidnapped by thugs because she’s been mistaken for the local rich girl. Her response, while carried under one arm like a suitcase, is to keep biting and sassing. The thugs underestimate her, so she simply walks into the other room and grabs their gun. During the whole adventure, the part she enjoys the most is thinking she’ll get to bury someone.

Little Lulu: Sunday Afternoon cover
Little Lulu:
Sunday Afternoon
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That’s not typical, though. Lulu really shines in more everyday settings, as when neighborhood kids fight over who will adopt a stray dog or there’s a snow day or she and Tubby try to avoid playing hooky. Longer stories like these alternate with one-page gags. The creativity takes place within a familiar, easy-to-read layout, with all of the pages made up of eight panels.

Her supporting cast is similarly odd but funny. Tubby’s full of himself while little Alvin is stubbornly single-minded. Some of the best stories happen when Alvin begs Lulu to tell him a story, and she puts her own twist on classic fairy tales, starring herself. Some stories show a simpler world, where kids walk everywhere, entertain themselves, and are distracted by the first television set in the neighborhood.

Lulu is unique among comic characters in demonstrating her own brand of cleverness, imagination, and creativity. She doesn’t accept the standard way of doing things; she has her own funny approach to seeing the world and solving problems. She’s quite an eye-opener.

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