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The Thing Lou Couldn't Do
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The Thing Lou Couldn't Do

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  947 ratings  ·  229 reviews
Lou and her friends are BRAVE adventurers. They run FASTER than airplanes. They build MIGHTY fortresses. They rescue WILD animals. But one day, when they re looking for a ship to play pirates in, Lou s friend has an idea: Up there! The tree can be our ship! Ummm ... says Lou. This is something new. Lou has never climbed a tree before, and she s sure she can t do it. So she ...more
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published May 2nd 2017 by Kids Can Press
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Average rating 3.94  · 
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 ·  947 ratings  ·  229 reviews

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Kris - My Novelesque Life
Rating: 5 STARS
2017; Kids Can Press/Hachette Book Group
(Review Not on Blog)

I am a big fan of Ashley Spires writing and illustrations. In this story we learn that Lou cannot climb. As a kid, I was able to get up, but could not get down once I got to the top.

***I received an eARC from EDELWEISS***
Aug 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is currently one of my son's favorite books. He likes adventures, has a good imagination, and would like to climb trees but is currently unable, so he relates. I loved that the book features a girl who likes adventures and she's a person of color. I love that her friends, with the exception of a red-haired boy with glasses, are also people of color. ...more
Stephanie - Books Less Travelled
I received a free ecopy from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. Thank you!

Another great story by Ashley Spires! Once anain encouraging kids to keep trying. Lou love adventures, but when her friends decide to climb a tree, she isn't so sure its the kind of adventure she enjoys, until she tries! This story is about having fun, and being confident, being brave, and trying new things. A great story for any child, and great lessons at any age!
Gretchen Taylor
Aug 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful story- opens up conversations about perseverance and also identity
La Coccinelle
Mar 14, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children
I'm a little bit torn by this one. Although it has very cute illustrations, a nice narrative, and a decent message, it could also be viewed as somewhat problematic.

Lou and her friends have all sorts of imaginative adventures together. But when they decide to play pirates, they need a ship. Her friends suggest a tall tree in the backyard and scramble up it. The problem is, Lou hasn't climbed a tree before and doesn't know how. First, she makes all sorts of excuses as to why she can't climb the tr
Carla Johnson-Hicks
Nov 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley, children
This is a great book for all the little girls out there who do not want to be a princess, but get out there with her friends and play. She is a brave, fearless little girl who plays pirates, rescues wild animals, runs faster than airplanes and just has fun trying new things. Until the day that her friends want to use the big tree in the backyard as a pirate ship. Lou has never climbed a tree and does not think she can do. Her friends are having so much fun in the tree. They invite her to join th ...more
Penny lurkykitty
Oct 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: childrens, kids
I received an electronic copy of this book from NetGalley in return for an honest review.
Lou is a highly adventurous brave girl. But when her friends decide to make a tree into an imaginary pirate ship and climb it, Lou is hesitant. She tries all the delay tactics that we try when we don't want to do something. She suggests alternative games to play, comes up with excuses, and tries to think of ways to get up into the tree without actually climbing it. Finally, she tries to climb the tree. She d
Maxine (Booklover Catlady)
Jan 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is a really nice children's picture book for around ages 3-5. The illustrations are crisp and bright and the characters talk with speech bubbles.

Lou can't climb the tree! It's a book that has the message of overcoming fears and excuses and giving things a go - even if it means you can't do something. At least you tried.

Lou has a very cute sidekick - her little cat, who sadly doesn't get given a name. Her friends feature in the book too. 4 stars. I'll be reading and reviewing more children'
Sarah Peterman
Oct 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley, 2016
I enjoyed looking at the illustrations for this book. The story itself was pretty normal, but had a good lesson. Even in the end, **Spoiler alert :)** Lou couldn't climb the tree. Which I liked. It still showed that she was going to try, but that she hadn't accomplished it yet. Which I believe is important for children to understand, Not everything is achievable at the first attempt. I received this book through NetGalley. ...more
Mar 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kids, netgalley
Encouragement and perseverance are the message in this adorable picture book by Ashley Spires.

When Lou and her friends play, they are anything they want to be. Adventurous little beings with big imaginations. But, when Lou's friends suggest climbing a tree so it can be their pirate ship, Lou is very fearful.

She has never climbed a tree before and prefers her adventures to be on the ground. Naturally, she comes up with all kinds of excuses. When Lou's friends continue their adventure without he
Katie Dicesare
Jun 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I think this is a great book for so many reasons...great messages--give yourself time, keep practicing, do something that's hard. I love the ending and the variety of layouts she uses. Lots for students to learn from a reading and writing lens. ...more
Agata Wilusz
Aug 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
So cute! Really enjoyed seeing Lou struggle with climbing the tree and loved that it opens the conversation about the power of 'yet'. I would have liked to see Lou trying again the following day as a wrap up, but I can see using this to also introduce Growth Mindset. ...more
This was such a cute children's book!

I really loved the moral of the story. Short and simple and yet meaningful and showing the importance of perseverance and slowly overcoming one's fear.

Lou is a role model to all!
Lesley Burnap
Aug 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
If you can't do something today, try again tomorrow. ...more
Lou's friends want to play in the tree, but Lou can't climb trees. Cute story about trying new things, overcoming fears, not making excuses. Might pair well with Jabari Jumps, but I think the most important part is that even when she tries, she isn't able to do it. Normally, in picture books, the kid tries and can do the thing, but real life doesn't work that way. Sometimes you can't do the thing and have to practice more. This book ends with no resolution to Lou's lack of tree climbing skills a ...more
I kind of like the open ending. We don't actually find out if she climbs the tree or not. But it's good for kids to know that sometimes just trying is enough. ...more
May 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
Great message about persistence and trying new things.
Dawn Feicht
Oct 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
I really enjoyed this book! The story was adorable, and I loved the fact the illustrations provided diverse cultures. The illustrator used wonderful colors and I was paying attention to what Lou was going to do next. I would add this to my class library!
Nov 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
This is an interesting story because it is about what Lou couldn't do, rather than what she does do. I love that it is not all wrapped nice and neat by the end of the book, because sometimes doing things we fear takes us a little longer then one day to get through.

Lou's friends all want to climb a tree to play, and Lou doesn't know how. She doesn't want to admit that, and tries to pursuade her friends there are more fun games they can play that have nothing to do with trees.

This is good to expla
Laura Herold
Oct 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
Lou is all sorts of brave, but she is nervous about climbing a tree with her friends. I am a fan of Ashley Spires and admire that both her characters in The Thing Lou Couldn't Do & The Most Magnificent Thing are persistant and creative. This is a book I would be happy to read to my daughter in coming years.

I was provided an ARC from NetGalley.
Edward Sullivan
Mar 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
Lou faces her fear in this appealing, relatable story.
Mary Lee
Look! It's a cameo appearance by Binky! ...more
Maria Caplin
May 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
Great story about perseverance but my favorite part is the phrase "NOT YET, anyway" we talk all the time about the power of yet! ...more
Heather Gunnell
Staff Pick

This is a great book to show you that you never know what you can do until you try. And maybe you won't get there on the first try, but if you keep at it, you'll make it.
Mar 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This arc was generously provided to me by Kids Can Press via NetGalley for an honest review.

Lou is an adventurous little girl who LOVES playing pretend with her friends. Some of their imaginary adventures include race car driving, deep-sea diving, and wrangling wild animals. Lou is always up for a challenge. That is, until the day they decided to play pirates. Lou's friends agreed that they needed a pirate ship, but there was one problem - the ship was going to be up in a tree. Lou didn
Storytime With Stephanie
Aug 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Climbing trees is such a rite of passage for a child. The moment they realize that they can move their bodies like little monkeys and get themselves high up into the branches where they can look down on the whole world around them is magical.
In The Thing Lou Couldn't Do, author/illustrator Ashley Spires, Binky The Space Cat, gives us the story of Lou, aka Captain Lou Skullbuckle, and her friends who are brave adventurers. When her friends turn the branches of the backyard tree into their pirate
Sydney Padden
Sep 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
Summary: The little girl Lou and her friends are big adventurers and are always jumping around and playing with each other. One day they were looking for a "ship" to play in, and Lou's friend had the idea of using a tree as the ship. Lou got hesitant because she had never claimed a tree before, and she was sure that she wouldn't be able to. She comes up with excuses but in the end realizes that she must be brave and try things before she comes up with excuses.

Theme: Before saying no or being too
Sep 29, 2018 rated it it was ok
My SLJ review: Lou and her friends love daring adventures, but when it comes to climbing trees, Lou sulks because she can't do it. Playing high in the branches of a tree, her companions are slow to notice Lou's plight. Midway through the story, they come down to offer help, but Lou isn't ready to climb the tree yet. After considering a few alternative ways to get into the tree, Lou gives climbing a try-and fails. Finally, recognizing her lack of skill, the friends take their game out of the tree ...more
Aug 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is a great story with main characters of color and a girl!! Bonus! I like that it teaches kids about trying new things. Lou is certainly afraid of climbing the tree and makes all kinds of excuses. It feels very real. My son also enjoys the language and ideas in the book. Like, asteroid. He'd never heard that one before and now he's running around screaming "there's an asteroid!" and it's hilarious. It's been a great teaching tool about perseverance and fear of trying. I especially like that ...more
Hailey Wolfe
Lou and her friends are BRAVE adventurers. They run FASTER than airplanes. They build MIGHTY fortresses. They rescue WILD animals. But one day, when they re looking for a ship to play pirates in, Lou s friend has an idea: Up there! The tree can be our ship! Ummm ... says Lou. This is something new. Lou has never climbed a tree before, and she s sure she can t do it. So she tries to convince her friends to play a not-up-a-tree game. When that doesn’t work, she comes up with reasons for not joinin ...more
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Ashley has written and illustrated many books, most notably the bestselling The Most Magnificent Thing, which is now a short animated film. She creates books that remind kids that making mistakes is integral to learning. She lives in British Columbia with her dog and a growing army of felines.

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