Friday, 25 January 2013
Saurus Street by Nick Falk and Tony Flowers (Random House Australia)
PB RRP $12.95
Saurus Street 1: Tyrannosaurus in the Veggie Patch
Also available as an ebook
Saurus Street 2: A Pterodactyl Stole my Homework
Also available as an ebook
There’s a new kid on the block. That should read; there’s a new dinosaur on the block. The block is Saurus Street and the dinosaur is a ginormous green tyrannosaurus, or is it a bright blue pterodactyl?
These are the first two books in the action-packed new series for 5 – 8 year olds, especially dinosaur-crazy boys. Once they start reading, they won’t want to put the books down, unless they’re whisked by mistake back to the Cretaceous Period.
In Book 1, Tyrannosaurus in the Veggie Patch, Jack wishes for his own Tyrannosaurus. When he goes searching for his dog Charlie, he finds a great, green T-rex straddled in the veggie patch. His ‘mum’s gonna boil’ when she sees what it’s done. The ‘cauliflowers are crushed, the tomatoes are toast and the cabbages are KAPUT.’
Jack convinces his best friend Toby to help build a time machine to send the T-rex back to the dinosaur era. They collect all the clocks they can find, including the ‘supercool glow-in-the-dark clock’ from his scary sister’s bedroom.
The only trouble is, Jack, Toby and Charlie get caught up with the T-rex and end up whizzing back to ‘dinosaur world’.
There’s a great dinosaur chase as the boys work out how to reverse the time machine. When all is back to normal, Jack sees a shooting star and makes a wish … Yep! For another dinosaur!
Book 2, A Pterodactyl Stole my Homework, continues the high jinks in Saurus Street. This time it’s with Jack’s neighbour, eight-year-old Sam and his older brother, Nathan. Together they’re known as ‘Team Dinosaur’ because they ‘build dinosaurs, draw dinosaurs and play dinosaurs.’
Sam’s homework keeps getting stolen and his teacher, Miss Potts with ‘twisted yellow teeth’ has given him an ultimatum. Tomorrow … or else! Trouble is, a pterodactyl has flown into his room and stolen it again. This time, Sam is going to follow the flying creature. With the help of his brother, they build a hot air balloon filled by the hot-air snores of their neighbour.
They fly high to the top of Saurus Hill. Everything is creepy, ‘the insects are gigantic’ and ‘there are spider webs everywhere.’ Sam falls into a giant nest made of children’s homework. The pterodactyl returns and feeds Sam a regurgitated lizard. He ends up with a giant pterodactyl egg and has to keep it safe from the oviraptor, the dinosaur egg thief. It’s all too funny!
These books are a breath of fresh air. What I also love is the spontaneity and interaction of each page. There is plenty of white space and there are oodles of illustrations. The font is reader-friendly and its shape changes for special words that connect to the emotions even more. Sometimes it’s hairy, twirly, ENORMOUS and even quivery.
The stories are told in first person, which connects young readers to the action. It makes it immediate. Made-up words make the sentences aural, like: THUNK! KER-SPLASH! WHAP! and FLOOMP! Suspense is often built by the font size increasing.
It’s laugh as you learn, as there are facts of the Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous periods interspersed with the action. Young minds will surely soak these up.
Nick Falk has been writing since he was seven and he so much remembers what excites young readers. Tony Flowers’ humour jumps out from his drawings. He’s also a master of 3-D chalk-art – imagine a dinosaur clawing its way out of the school playground! To me, this creative team works like Roald Dahl and Quentin Blake, the perfect humorous mix of the written and the visual.
Look out in April for the next two books in the Saurus Street series: The Very Naughty Velociraptor and An Allosaurus Ate my Uncle.