LULU AND THE BRONTOSAURUS

Viorst, better known within the children's-book world for picture books than novels, flexes her muscles and introduces readers to delightfully obnoxious, fit-throwing Lulu, a spoiled only child prone to indulging in over-the-top temper tantrums to get what she wants. And what she wants now is a brontosaurus for her birthday. Her long-suffering parents finally put their collective feet down and refuse. Lulu’s antics do no good this time, so she heads into the woods to find a dinosaur herself. In short chapters interspersed with funny narrative asides and whimsical black-and-white illustrations, readers follow Lulu as she heads into the woods, faces off with some ferocious animals and finally finds the brontosaurus, who decides he’d rather have Lulu as his pet than be hers! Lulu won’t survive this adventure without some serious changes in her behavior. Dinosaurs, it turns out, are fond of good manners. The glib narrator provides not one but three endings for readers to choose from. Even so, they still won’t have had enough of Lulu. Pitch perfect for the beginning chapter-book crowd. (Fiction. 6-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 14, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-4169-9961-4

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: July 15, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2010

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Formulaic but not stale…even if it does mine previous topical material rather than expand it.

HOW DO DINOSAURS SHOW GOOD MANNERS?

From the How Do Dinosaurs…? series

A guide to better behavior—at home, on the playground, in class, and in the library.

Serving as a sort of overview for the series’ 12 previous exercises in behavior modeling, this latest outing opens with a set of badly behaving dinos, identified in an endpaper key and also inconspicuously in situ. Per series formula, these are paired to leading questions like “Does she spit out her broccoli onto the floor? / Does he shout ‘I hate meat loaf!’ while slamming the door?” (Choruses of “NO!” from young audiences are welcome.) Midway through, the tone changes (“No, dinosaurs don’t”), and good examples follow to the tune of positive declarative sentences: “They wipe up the tables and vacuum the floors. / They share all the books and they never slam doors,” etc. Teague’s customary, humongous prehistoric crew, all depicted in exact detail and with wildly flashy coloration, fill both their spreads and their human-scale scenes as their human parents—no same-sex couples but some are racially mixed, and in one the man’s the cook—join a similarly diverse set of sibs and other children in either disapprobation or approving smiles. All in all, it’s a well-tested mix of oblique and prescriptive approaches to proper behavior as well as a lighthearted way to play up the use of “please,” “thank you,” and even “I’ll help when you’re hurt.”

Formulaic but not stale…even if it does mine previous topical material rather than expand it. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 20, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-338-36334-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Blue Sky/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2020

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Tried and true, both in content and formula.

HOW DO DINOSAURS SAY GOODBYE?

From the How Do Dinosaurs…? series

Parting—of the temporary rather than permanent kind—is the latest topic to be dino-sorted in this venerable series’ 14th outing.

Nobody dies and the series is showing no signs of flagging, so reading anything ominous into the title is overthinking it. Instead, Teague and Yolen once again treat readers to a succession of outsized, gaily patterned dinosaurs throwing tantrums or acting out, this time as dad packs up for a business trip or even just sets off to work, grandparents pause at the door for goodbyes, mom drops her offspring off at school on a first day, parents take a date night, or a moving van pulls up to the house. Per series formula, the tone switches partway through when bad behavior gives way to (suggested) better: “They tell all the grown-ups / just how they are feeling. / It helps right away / for fast dinosaur healing.” Hugs, kisses, and a paper heart might also be more constructive responses than weeping, clinging, and making mayhem. Dinosaurian pronouns mostly alternate between he and she until switching to the generic their in the last part. In the art, the human cast mixes figures with different racial presentations and the date-night parents are an interracial couple, but there is no evident sign of same-gender or other nonnormative domestic situations.

Tried and true, both in content and formula. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 28, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-338-36335-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

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