Friday 14 January 2011

Lulu and the Brontosaurus

Lulu and the Brontosaurus by Judith Viorist, illustrated by Lane Smith (Simon and Schuster)
PB RRP $16.99
ISBN 978-085707147-7
Reviewed by Peta Biggin

Lulu is an only child – and a pretty spoiled one at that. She decides that she wants a brontosaurus for her next birthday and won’t take no for an answer. Her parents however, despite Lulu’s ear-splitting tantrums, actually do say “No” and so she must set off into the forest to find one for herself. On her adventure she encounters several other animals before she finds what she is looking for. She tries to take the brontosaurus home as her pet only to discover that he has other ideas. In fact, he wants to have Lulu for his pet.  Her usual methods for getting what she wants simply don’t work. So now, Lulu needs to think of a plan that will get her home safely. If not, she will be spending the rest of her life doing cute tricks for a brontosaurus.

Lulu and the Brontosaurs is a fun new chapter book from best-selling author Judith Viorist.

The book starts out with Lulu as very unsympathetic character.  In fact, she is described in the first chapter as a “pain in the butt”. She learns a hard lesson at the hands (or should that be feet?) of a very polite brontosaurus: behaving like a spoilt brat does not always get you what you want.   

The story is delivered in a light and quirky way. I particularly enjoyed the way the reader is addressed directly with lots of little asides throughout the book. The message is clear – not demanding your own way all the time and treating others with respect. However, the unlikely way that Lulu gets her comeuppance makes for a highly enjoyable read.

The black-and-white illustrations are provided by award-winning illustrator Lane Smith. They have a Tim Burton quality to them that suit the quirky style of the story.

Lulu and the Brontosaurus is a great book that would suit younger readers – around 8 to 10 years old. Each page contains only a small passage of text and there are lots of illustrations to break things up.

Judith Viorist is the bestselling author of Alexander and the Terrible, No Good, Very Bad Day and several other works. She lives in Washington D.C. with her husband. Lane Smith is the Caldecott Honour-winning illustrator of The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales. He lives in rural Connecticut.

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