THE MIGHTY LALOUCHE: A charming tale by Matthew Olshan that holds a few surprises between its pages

mighty-laloucheOne hundred and a few-odd years ago, in Paris, France, there lived a humble postman named Lalouche. He was small, but his hands were nimble, his legs were fast, and his arms were strong. In THE MIGHTY LALOUCHE, the extraordinary happens when Monsieur Lalouche takes to the ring and proves himself a boxer extraordinaire. “C’est impossible!”  you say? This charming tale by Matthew Olshan, illustrated by New York Times Best Illustrated Award winner Sophie Blackall, holds a few surprises between its pages.
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Lalouche is an endearingly oddball hero, and Blackall takes her always-exquisite
ink-and-watercolor artwork to another level. . . . C’est formidable!
Publishers Weekly, Starred
 
When his job is replaced by an electric car, the postman Lalouche turns to boxing to support himself and his pet finch, Genevieve. But—“You? A boxer?” the fighters ask. “I could sneeze and knock you down!” Still, Lalouche refuses to give up. Weathering such threats as “I’ll zap him,” “I’ll tie him in a pretty bow,” and, most alarmingly, “I’ll squeeze him till he pops!” Lalouche nimbly thwarts each of his frightening foes in the ring, proving that size is no indicator of strength or will.
 
This marvelous story, full of humor and heart, salutes the unlikely champions who remind young readers that creativity and wit trump brute force. As the plot unfolds in Paris, France, in the early 1900s, readers are treated to historical details, heightened by Blackall’s clever, kid-friendly art. In keeping with the historical nature of the story, Blackall uses the nearly forgotten Japanese paper diorama art style called tatebanko for this book to stunning effect.
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“The illustrations are outstanding–Blackall has outdone herself. . . .
The text and pictures work expertly together.”
School Library Journal, Starred
 
was written specifically for Sophie Blackall after Matthew Olshan discovered that she collected old pictures of boxers, especially “extremely skinny ones with big billowing boxing trunks.”
 
MATTHEW OLSHAN is the author of Finn: A Novel, a modern telling of Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, with girls as protagonists rather than boys. His latest novel, The Flown Sky, is a fantasy in the tradition of C. S. Lewis’s Narnia Chronicles. Olshan lives in Baltimore, but also has a little farm in south central Pennsylvania, called Pencil Creek.
 
SOPHIE BLACKALL received the New York Times Best Illustrated Award for her book Big Red Lollipop, and won the Ezra Jack Keats Award for New Talent. She is the illustrator of Meet Wild Boars, a Bulletin Blue Ribbon Book; Jumpy Jack & Googily; What’s So Bad About Being an Only Child?; Summer Is Summer; Edwin Speaks Up; and others. A native of Australia, she lives in Brooklyn, New York.
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