Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Lulu and the Brontosaurus

Horn Book (November/December, 2010)
Spoiled Lulu wants a pet brontosaurus for her birthday, even after her parents say no. Since no is not a word Lulu is used to hearing, she throws a temper tantrum and runs away into the forest to find a brontosaurus, who, to her shock, wants to make Lulu his pet. As Lulu flees the dinosaur, her run-ins with forest creatures prove that her tiff with the brontosaurus has made Lulu more understanding, compassionate, and polite; she even says "please" and "thank you." Multiple endings allow readers to explore various outcomes, adding a goofy thread to an already entertaining story. The third-person narrator's voice is sassy and funny, repeatedly speaking directly to the reader about the story -- "OKAY! All right! You don't have to tell me! I know!" (explaining that she knows that dinosaurs have never lived with people, and that brontosauruses are actually called apatosauruses now). Playful typefaces add emphasis and spunk, injecting the text with visual emotion. Lane Smith's almost-pointillist black-and-white illustrations are vivacious and expressive, depicting as clearly as the text does Lulu's bratty-turned-polite personality. The energetic tone of the narration and unique structure of the multiple endings, combined with an inviting page design, make this early chapter book one readers will say "yes" to. katrina hedeen

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