Title : Lotsa de Casha
Author : Madonna Ritchie
Illustrator : Rui Paes
Publisher : Puffin Books
Year of publishing : 2005
Age Suggestion : 5+
Type : Picture Book
If you accidentally often heard the songs that your Mom – I don’t really know much about the guy who liked the song, so I’m not sure your dad listening to it, too – loved to hear, you maybe recognize one of the singer’s name just like the author. To my surprise, it is her! The famous singer from 80’s era is writing a children’s book! Oh, how outdated I am! I just knew when I saw this book!
No wonder the illustration is really flashy and feminine, because she’s a flashy woman, too. I mean, the illustrator might not be her, but I bet she chose an artist that the character fits her taste, right? When I read this book, I think that the illustration is really a piece of artwork, it’s really detailed, the background is sophisticated (just like Madonna, too) and the color is extraordinary. No surprise, the illustrator is actually an artist, I think he used to do oil-painting before, because this is his first work of children’s book. There’s a little bit information about him in the end of the book.
It’s definitely for fluent reader, because it has many sentences. It’s simple words actually, so if the beginner readers want to challenge themselves, it’s good book to start with.
The story is about Lotsa de Casha. According to the name (lots of cash, duh!), you can guess that he was rich. Very rich. He had a castle, a big one. He had everything that money can buy. But, Lotsa had one problem. No matter what he did, he could not feel happy. He just felt grumpy all the time. You can see that from the frown in his face. (And you wouldn’t be surprised if I told you he’s arrogant and rude, too. I don’t know whether an arrogant and rude person can be truthfully happy.)
So, his carriage’s driver recommended him to see the wise man far, far away. Off he went, with the best shiniest carriage and the biggest sandwich ever.
Lotsa was really surprised that they found dusty little hovel. And he said, “this doesn’t look like the house of an important man to me. Get outa and check.” (No, I don’t misspelled, I think it might be the accent) But, his driver was sure. Then, he went to the house and asked for advice on how to find happiness. What did he find?
“The secret is this: if you share what you have and put others before you, you will find happiness.”
For Lotsa, who only knew to work really hard to earn money for himself, and never for others, it’s really suspicious indeed, and he didn’t believe it. Until, he experienced it himself.
Besides the magnificent illustration – Rui Paes did a good job in characterizing each role, too. Lotsa is characterized as greyhound dog (correct me if I’m wrong, I’m not good at identifying dog’s breed) which really looked arrogant and the owl for the wise man, cliched but right on point– the moral lesson is great, too. In addition, Madonna put few facts that really verbalized the moral lesson in the story. Some are funny!
Just one thing I realized, Madonna said in the first page, that Lotsa was actually a good man (or dog, in his case hehe), but he appeared really arrogant and rude in the next pages. I think it’s not really consistent in character description, in general way. Maybe the good way to put it, Lotsa is never actually doing something bad to other persons. Which quite true, he’s too busy with himself to ever do that, too. Oh, Lotsa!
One more thing, we can learn to be responsible, too. Because, maybe Lotsa was arrogant, but in the story, you can find that he was really a man of his word! He kept his promises so well. All in all, this is the good book to teach us to always help others. At the least, we can sleep at night peacefully, satisfied with ourselves. Don’t trust me? Try to please others for once, and feel how satisfied you will be!