Title: The Unique Lou Fox
Author: Jodi Carmichael
Genre: Middle Grade, Contemporary
Publisher: Pajama Press
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Release Date: August 9, 2022
Award-winning author Jodi Carmichael, who has ADHD herself, affirms and celebrates those who struggle with their uniqueness and triumphantly discover its gifts
It isn’t easy being Louisa Elizabeth Fitzhenry-O’Shaughnessy—especially with dyslexia. She prefers Lou Fox, the dream name she’ll use one day as a famous Broadway playwright. In the meantime, Lou is stuck in fifth grade with Mrs. Snyder, a total Shadow Phantom of a teacher who can spot a daydream from across the room but doesn’t know anything about ADHD. Mrs. Snyder’s constant attention is ex-cru-ci-a-ting. If only she would disappear.
Fortunately, life isn’t all a-tro-cious. There’s The Haunting at Lakeside School, the play Lou is writing and directing for her two best friends. And soon she’ll be a big sister at last. Nothing could ruin the joy of those things…right?
Fifth grader Louisa Elizabeth Fitzhenry-O’Shaughnessy dreams of being a playwright and changing her name to Lou Fox. She has dyslexia and ADHD, and she thinks that her teacher, Mrs. Snyder, doesn’t understand her at all. After getting in trouble one day, Lou wishes Mrs. Snyder would disappear. Then, Mrs. Snyder gets very sick and can’t come to school. Lou worries that her wish came true, especially when her pregnant mother falls ill, after she wishes she wasn’t going to have a younger sibling. Meanwhile, Lou is struggling to keep up in class and starts bossing her friends around as they plan to perform the play they wrote together. Lou must figure out how to use her strengths and embrace the ways that she’s unique.
This is a fabulous children’s novel! Not only is it written about a main character with dyslexia, but it was printed with consideration for readers with dyslexia. The text was set in Helvetica and the headers are in OpenDyslexic, so they are easier to read for children with dyslexia. I didn’t know that these fonts make it easier to read, so I appreciated this detail in the story.
There were also parts of this story that are universal. Lou had a lot of misunderstandings because she didn’t communicate her feelings. She thought her wish made her teacher ill, even though that’s not possible. Lou was understandably jealous when she found out that her mother was pregnant. Once she talked to her parents about it, she felt much better. Lou also had some conflicts with her friends which were cleared up after talking about her feelings. These are universal lessons that everyone can relate to.
The Unique Lou Fox is a great middle grade story!
Thank you Pajama Press for sending me a copy!
What to read next:
Family of Spies by Jodi Carmichael
Harvey Comes Home by Colleen Nelson
Have you read The Unique Lou Fox? What did you think of it?