Gwendolyn Javor and Melissa Aker Spears | Absurdimals: Lola goes to School (CreateSpace)

30 pgs. | $14.99 softcover, $7.99 ebook

Lola is a Belephant—half bunny and half elephant—who never thought she had a problem with who she was. That was until she started school. There she found out that she was different from her classmates. No matter how perfect she was, she wasn’t a full fledged elephant, making her time at school difficult.

Principal Hooves swoops in to save the day, showing Lola that being absurd is normal, that in the past a lot of things seemed absurd, until someone had to courage to be themselves. After a while, the things that seemed absurd before don’t seem so much so anymore. He shows Lola that being herself inspires others to be themselves as well. That embracing who we are is a must, perceived differences and all.

In the end, she inspires everyone to be upfront and honest about who they are, not hiding from themselves and their true nature. She finds out that she is not the only one that feels absurd, that there are a lot of animals out there that needed a little of Lola’s inspiration to shine right along with her. There’s a surprise ending that I loved as well, but you’ll have to get the book to see what it is.

This book works on so many levels. It offers up an outlet for having important chats about differences with children, showing them that being different is not a bad thing. Differences are embraced for what they are: opportunities in disguise. It shows that absurd ideas and relationships are only ones that we’ve not had a chance to experience yet.

Flipping through Melissa Aker Spears’ illustrations brought up many a smile. Her characters were drawn to perfection, embodying the proper facial expressions that went along with the story. The art helps give the child reading it a sense of the story, letting even those who can’t read yet to grasp what is going on, getting a sense for the characters even if the words were not present. Together with Gwendolyn Javors’ beautiful story, it tells quite the tale.

Absurdimals is a story for any school-age child. I will be sure to share this book with our daughter’s kindergarten teacher, as it opens up a great foundation to start any child’s school career off on the right foot. I’m happy to report that Gwendolyn Javor will be writing more in her Absurdimals series, so please keep your eyes out after the holiday season for the newest book in her series, Chester Learns to Swim. You can also check her out on Facebook, and Instagram. | Keva Bartnick

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