Friday, August 5, 2011

Review: Latasha and the Little Red Tornado by Michael Scotto

When I opened the package that Latasha came in I was surprised. The cover was so cute, the colors vibrant! This is a good sign, I thought. When I accept a book for review by an unknown author and press it creates a bit of suspense and anxiety. I never know what to expect.

I began reading. Eight year old Latasha has a crazy dog and she believes that if she can train her dog it will prove she's mature and grown up. Her mom gets a great new job as a nurse's assistant but it means Latasha has less time to spend training her dog and she must be babysat by a strange old neighbor lady, Mrs. Okocho -- the horror! I wavered in the first short chapter. I don't about this. Is this going to be a cliche ridden story?

As the story began to flow I was sucked into Latasha's world. Her cares and concerns were so real. The text made me remember both the easy delights and frustrations of being eight. Latasha is an endearing character who learns about the weight of responsibility and how to make and keep friends. I appreciated that the neighbor lady was a well-rounded character who was not just a "prop" but a real character with depth. Ella, the dog, offered comic relief as she tested Latasha's resolve to train her.

While the text may have special appeal for city kids (Latasha lives in Pittsburgh) or dog lovers I think this is a good book for late elementary and early middle school readers. Latasha and the Little Red Tornado was a delight. I read it in one sitting. When I closed the book, with a few tears in my eyes, I thought, What a good story. This text counts towards to the POC Reading Challenge!

Publisher: Midlandia, 2011 (Book released November 15th, 2011)     Pages: 141     Illustrator: Evette Gabriel
Rating: 4 Stars     Source: Received for free for review from the author. Thanks, Mr. Scotto!

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