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Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 09/01/2010 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 - Copyright 2010 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Bulletin for the Center... - 10/01/2010 “There once was a girl named Lulu, and she was a pain.” Lulu’s a pain because she’s a spoiled brat who gets whatever she wants even if she has to tantrum for it, but that becomes a problem when she decides what she wants for her birthday-a brontosaurus. Appalled at her parents’ failure to accede to her outlandish request, she runs away, heading into the forest near her house to find a brontosaurus-only to realize, when she finds him, that getting what you want isn’t always the best idea. Veteran author Viorst brings a high-spirited whimsy to this early chapter book, with lots of interpolated direct address to the reader and occasional snatches of singable song from Lulu. The actual story isn’t up to the standard of the voice, though; the slender plot rambles, seeming like a picture book that’s been needlessly expanded (Lulu’s encounters with other animals in the forest are especially uninvolving), and the lesson Lulu learns-predictably, don’t be a spoiled brat-doesn’t seem to be the one to take from her experience of being made pet to a brontosaurus. (There’s also a disturbing creepiness to the brontosaurus’ silky insistence that Lulu will never be allowed to leave and she’ll come to love her captor.) Smith’s comic black-and-white illustrations, in spot art and full-page scenes, contrast sharp-edged graphics with the softly rubbed grain of the paper that textures the shaded areas, adding a sophisticated edge to the book. Though readers-alone will find the brief chapters and inviting formatting reassuring, this might function best as a readaloud, with the performance that enhances the drama and thoroughly milks the evergreen theme of the brat who gets her comeuppance. DS - Copyright 2010 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.
Booklist - 09/01/2010 You can tell right off Lulu is a brat, not just because of Viorst’s initial description (“She was a pain—a very big pain—in the butt”) but also because of Smith’s opening illustration of a huge-headed, bob-haired girl with her arms defiantly crossed. Lulu is demanding a brontosaurus for her birthday, and after a 13-day standoff, she marches into the woods and finds one for herself. There’s only one problem: the brontosaurus wants Lulu as his pet. It’s a setup ripe for she-deserves-it guffaws, and Smith especially has a field day, using his geometric, cutesy pencil drawings to imagine Lulu begging like a dog with a stick in her mouth. The swift shifts in plot make the story feel less than surefooted, but that’s also part of its charm; Viorst sprinkles the tale with daffy authorial intrusions, from asides (“Okay, so snakes don’t talk. But in my story, they do”) to three different ending options. The way Lulu’s behavior models that of a new pet—shouting, whining, fleeing—is quite clever, and perceptive kids will enjoy being in on the joke. - Copyright 2010 Booklist.