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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A bland but amiable iteration.

THE WONDROUS DINOSAURIUM

Yet another child learns that dinosaurs make exciting, if chancy, pets.

On the prowl for a pet, Danny walks past shop windows displaying puppies and kittens to enter the titular storefront…where “Mr. Ree, purveyor of prehistoric pets,” offers him any dino he might desire. Unfortunately his first pick, Diplodocus longus, eats half a ton of veggies per day; his second, Tyrannosaurus rex (“Ooh, brave choice”), is too, well, “drooly”; and later ones—unnamed but brightly patterned, smiling, and recognizably depicted in Brown’s cartoon scenes—prove likewise impractical or unsatisfactory. (Confirmed dinophiles might be able to tag the unidentified beasts, but there is no key for paleontological newbies.) Condon works the well-worn premise to a happy resolution, as the pet Danny finally brings home in a box turns out to be not an ordinary tortoise, as his mother thinks at first sight, but a spiky-tailed, tortoiselike Meiolania from the Middle Miocene, small enough to pick up…at first, anyway. Aside from a background figure in one scene, the human cast is uniformly white. José Carlos Andrés and Ana Sanfelippo’s Adopting a Dinosaur (2019), Jason Cockcroft’s How To Take Care of Your Dinosaur (2019), and Diego Vaisberg’s Dino (2018) are but three recent examples of the superior treatments available.

A bland but amiable iteration. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: April 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-84886-474-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Maverick Publishing

Review Posted Online: Dec. 18, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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Something like a gender-switched companion to the author’s My Rules for Being a Pretty Princess (2015), but with more give...

I WANNA BE A GREAT BIG DINOSAUR

A little boy finds out what dinosaurs do…and vice versa.

The titular proclamation, delivered in oversized type by an overstimulated white boy with wide blue eyes, brings on a young theropod, also blue, who provides some not-entirely-necessary instruction: “And first, you must learn how to… / ROAR! / Next comes STOMPING!” With eating, though, the instruction begins to go two ways, as the kinetic kid introduces his carnivorous cohort to the wonders of cake and ice cream, spaghetti, and even sushi. And then on to reading, soccer, and video gaming. All of this leaves the toothy erstwhile tutor rumbling plaintively “I wanna be a LITTLE BOY!” A fine solution presents itself—“Let’s be BOTH!”—and in a final scene, the boy, with a homemade cardboard dinosaur suit strapped on, roars and stomps alongside a prehistoric pal clad in purple shorts and a boxy cap decorated to resemble a blond boy head. McKenzie scatters craft supplies underfoot in his minimally detailed illustrations as further prods to explore the pleasures of playacting.

Something like a gender-switched companion to the author’s My Rules for Being a Pretty Princess (2015), but with more give and take between the roles. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: May 17, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4926-3299-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Review Posted Online: March 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2016

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