Reviews for Lulu and the Brontosaurus


Booklist Reviews 2010 September #1
"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 Reviews.

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Horn Book Guide Reviews 2011 Spring
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. Copyright 2010 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

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Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2010 #6
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 Copyright 2010 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.

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Kirkus Reviews 2010 August #1

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)

Copyright Kirkus 2010 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2010 August #5

While no one can question Viorst and Smith's street cred, they've turned in a curiously unaffecting chapter book. Lulu, a Louise Brooks look-alike, "was a pain--a very big pain--in the butt." Given to "screech till the lightbulbs burst" when she doesn't get her way, Lulu quickly wears down parental resistance to her whims. But when Lulu tries to turn a brontosaurus into a birthday pet, she discovers that there may be a creature who's more willful (and far better mannered about it) than she is. Will Lulu spend the rest of her life as the dinosaur's pet? Will this encounter turn her into a kinder, gentler kid? The plot and characters barely seems to matter--or act only as setups for Viorst's irreverent, metafictional nudges. "Is that where a brontosaurus would live? In a forest? I'm afraid that I'm not absolutely sure. But since I'm the person writing this story, I'm putting this brontosaurus in a forest." It's an approach that's made Smith and Jon Scieszka deservedly famous, but here--despite the fun to be had in seeing Lulu finally meet her match--it feels self-indulgent. Smith's angular pencil illustrations bubble with arch humor, but it's not enough to rescue this effort. Ages 6-10. (Sept.)

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School Library Journal Reviews 2010 September

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

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