Ava and the Real Lucille

Cari Best, illustrated by Madeline Valentine

Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)

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When Ava and her sister Arlie see the "Write a Poem / Win a Pet" sign in Mr. Noah's pet shop window, Ava is sure the prize is going to be a dog and convinces Arlie to enter the contest with her. The girls write the best poem they can, and while waiting and hoping to win, they decide that "Lucille" would be the perfect name for a dog. But when Mr. Noah finally announces that they have won, Ava is so disappointed when she sees the prize, a parakeet, that she says, "You're not the real Lucille!" Ava must discover for herself that with a little patience, a little imagination, and a lot of love, her new pet will be every bit as much fun as a dog—and a fine friend besides.


Praise for Ava and the Real Lucille

“Many kids will relate to Ava’s craving for a canine…”--BCCB

"Endearing.”—Publishers Weekly
"Lucille is the real deal." —Kirkus

"Reads aloud well . . . A warm story with its own quirky charm." -- Booklist

In the Press

AVA AND THE REAL LUCILLE by Cari Best, Madeleine Valentine | Kirkus Book Reviews
Read the Kirkus Review of AVA AND THE REAL LUCILLE . Ava and her little sister, Arlie, win first prize in a poetry contest at their local pet store, with an unspecified pet as the prize. But instead of a longed-for dog, the pet turns out to be a parakeet--not what Ava had in mind at all.
- Kirkus Reviews

Reviews from Goodreads



  • Cari Best, illustrated by Madeline Valentine

  • CARI BEST has written many award-winning picture books, including Sally Jean, the Bicycle Queen, a School Library Journal Best Book of the Year; Are You Going to be Good?, a Parents’ Choice Award Winner; and most recently, Easy as Pie. Ms. Best lives in Weston, Connecticut.

    MADELINE VALENTINE is the illustrator of Albertine’s Got Talent by Shena Power. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.

  • Cari Best Photo by M. Schindel


Available Formats and Book Details

Ava and the Real Lucille

Cari Best, illustrated by Madeline Valentine

CCBC Choice (Univ. of WI), Bank Street Best Children's Book of the Year