Lulu and the Brontosaurus

115p. 978-1-41699-961-4.
Gr 1—4—Viorst and Smith introduce a spoiled young lady who wants a brontosaurus for her birthday. With her lightbulb-shattering screeches, Lulu is used to getting her way, but her parents refuse this request. After four days of screaming, she tells her parents, "foo on you," packs a small suitcase, and sets off into the forest. After getting the best of a snake, tiger, and bear, she meets a brontosaurus. He, however, decides that she will be his perfect pet. While this story follows a familiar cautionary-tale story line, Lulu is both determined and surprisingly resourceful (her small suitcase contains pickle sandwiches and an astonishing amount of stuff). Viorst's narrative is appropriately arch: "since I'm the person writing this story, I get to choose what I write." There's plenty of child-friendly humor, and Smith's droll, exaggerated pencil drawings on pastel paper deftly add to the fun. The pinheaded brontosaurus is irresistible and reminiscent of Syd Hoff's beloved dinosaur from the "Danny and the Dinosaur" series (HarperCollins). This inventive, lighthearted fantasy should be a solid hit with young readers looking for a lively first chapter book.—Marilyn Taniguchi, Beverly Hills Public Library, CA
Spoiled Lulu seeks a pet brontosaurus; she finds one who, to her shock, wants to make Lulu his pet. Fleeing the dinosaur, Lulu learns compassion and manners. The third-person narrator's voice is sassy, and multiple endings add goofiness to the already entertaining story. 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.
Judith Viorst handles her narrative voice superbly and engagingly addresses readers from the first sentence. A fun introduction begins the book, parenthetical comments are included throughout, and the multiple endings are entertaining and satisfying. The story has many amusing moments and offers a gentle lesson in manners. Lulu has chutzpah and is likable, despite her character being established as spoiled rotten. Her transformation from spoiled to (mostly) not feels genuine and believable. Lane Smith’s charming illustrations, a bit reminiscent of the artwork in the classic My Father’s Dragon books by Ruth Stiles Gannett, add to an appealing format and design.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing