The star of the show in Lucky Lazlo by Steve Light is undoubtedly the enchanting pen and ink illustration that takes the reader on a delightful, comical romp through the wonderful world of the theatre and a whole cast of colourful characters to be spotted along the way.
‘The course of true love never did run smooth’ wrote Shakespeare. Lucky Lazlo starts off ‘lucky’ managing to buy the last red rose in the flower shop that he intends to give to his beloved who is acting in a theatre production of Alice in Wonderland. However, events take a turn for the decidedly unlucky when he drops the rose and a naughty ginger cat grabs it and runs off.
Lazlo gives chase and the reader with him, through exquisite drawings that take us backstage into the inner workings of the theatre; through the costume department, the orchestra, the prop room, the audience and finally across the stage as the cheeky cat scampers off with Lazlo’s rose in its mouth, wreaking havoc as it goes. Finally, spying a mouse, the cat drops the rose and runs off to chase the poor creature. Lazlo meanwhile ends up rolling on a ball across the stage through the Alice in Wonderland production, to the end of the story where he gets to give the object of his affections the red rose that started his adventures in love.
The drawings in this book are as mesmerising and opulent, intricate and ornate as the inside of a gilded theatre; many of them in black and white with bright splashes of colour reserved for Lazlo and the cat and the quirky cast of backstage characters. Most adults will find it hard to resist the desire to colour in the rest of the book!
A lovely touch is the author’s note on the back page describing long-held theatrical superstitions; inviting the reader to find these along their madcap journey through the story. With so many things to see, it’s perfect for re-reading time and time again.
This is a fabulously fun book for children of all ages and a lovely introduction to the magical world of the theatre.
All images courtesy of Walker Books, who have published Lucky Lazlo by Steve Light.
Lucky Lazlo was published by Walker Books on 5th January 2017.