Friday, July 29, 2011

Lulu and the Brontosaurus by Judith Viorst


It's Lulu's birthday and she's decided she'd like a pet brontosaurus as a present. But when Lulu's parents tell her that's not possible, Lulu gets very upset. She does not like it when things don't go her way. So taking matters into her own hands Lulu storms off into the forest to find herself a new pet, all the way singing:
I'm gonna, I'm gonna, I'm gonna, gonna, get
a bronto-bronto-bronto-bronto-saurus for a pet!

In the forest Lulu encounters a number of animals: a snake, a tiger, a bear, all of whom don't particularly impress her. And then she finds him... a beautiful, long-necked, gentle, graceful brontosaurus. And he completely agrees with Lulu that having a pet would be a wonderful thing indeed! Lulu thinks she's finally got her birthday wish. Until she realises that Mr Brontosaurus thinks that she would make an ideal pet for him!

How will Lulu ever get out of this sticky situation without throwing a fit (Mr B does not respond well to those), or using force (Mr B is much too tall to bonk on the head with her suitcase), or smushing her sandwich?

This book was begging to be read. Slightly taller than a regular sized book it literally stands out from the rest. Packed with wonderful illustrations by Lane Smith this chapter book for ages five and up would encourage even the reluctant reader. Lulu is introduced to us as a little girl who gets her own way by kicking and screaming until her parents relent. They give way on everything until Lulu decides that for her birthday she'd like a brontosaurus for a pet. For the first time her parents say no - and keep on saying it. When Lulu realises that she can't change their minds she heads off into the forest to find one for herself. Her parents put the kettle on for a cup of tea and forget all about her.

This is what I loved about this book - it's quite irreverent. Lulu's parents, rather than tearing out their hair at the loss of Lulu, have tea and biscuits whilst enjoying the quiet. And who can blame them? Prior to this Lulu's favourite comment to her parents when she didn't get her way is, "Foo on you," which is so brilliant I may start using it in everyday conversation. As Lulu makes her way through the forest she meets all kinds of animals that want to eat her, or squash her for making so much noise. Her response is to, "bonk," them on the head with her suitcase or stomp on their feet.

When she finally meets her Brontosaurus they have a difference of opinion and Lulu begins to understand how awful she's been to her parents. But the best part of the book is the alternate endings. The narrator speaks directly to the reader throughout the book (or breaks the fourth wall, depending on what you prefer) which I enjoyed and didn't find obtrusive. This technique came into its own during the alternate endings part as the reasons for each is explained. The reader is encourage to choose their favourite ending which range from bitter sweet to hilarious. Such a funny and beautiful little book.


serendipity_viv said...

I think my girls should read, especially at the moment! I love the sound of this book.

Jenni @ Juniper's Jungle said...

This sounds absolutely wonderful. I adore the cover, it's so lovely.

Raimy from Readaraptor Hatchling said...

WOW! I want a dinosaur as a pet!! But then with my obsession what else would I want!
This book sounds brilliant, I must get a copy!