Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Lulu and the Brontosaurus

Lulu and the Brontosaurus
by Judith Viorst
illustrated by Lane Smith
Simon and Schuster/Atheneum Books, 2010
review copy provided by the publisher

Publishers Weekly didn't like this book too much, but I'd venture to say that they didn't read it aloud to a roomful of living, breathing children! If they didn't read it aloud, they have no idea how infectious Lulu's song is, or how much fun the chatty narrator is.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. The audience at hand (4th graders) was hooked on the first paragraph of chapter one: "There once was a girl named Lulu and she was a pain. She wasn't a pain in the elbow. She wasn't a pain in the knee. She was a pain -- a very big pain -- in the b u t t ." And she is -- Lulu gets whatever she wants by screeching until the lightbulbs break. However, when she wishes for a brontosaurus for a pet, her parents refuse.  For 12 days they refuse, until finally Lulu packs her suitcase and goes to get a brontosaurus for herself, singing,

"I'm gonna, I'm gonna, I'm gonna gonna get
A bronto-bronto-bronto
brontosaurus for a pet."

Lulu bullies her way through the forest, dispatching a snake, a tiger, and a bear, until she finds her brontosaurus. But lo and behold, Mr. B refuses to be her pet. He wants Lulu for HIS pet! Mr. B is so kind and nice and polite and patient in his refusal to let Lulu go and his insistence that she will be his pet, that Lulu stops screeching and starts asking nicely. She even uses the "P" word. (please) 

But has she really changed? You decide -- think about how she runs away from Mr. B at her first opportunity.  But think about how she mends her relationship with the snake, the tiger and the bear. And think about each of the three alternative endings -- which one is too sour, which one is too sweet, and which one is just about the way life really works, give or take the part about the brontosaurus?

This is a very fun read aloud. Very fun. To the reader of our blog who recently asked for chapter books to read aloud to Kindergarten -- this one receives my endorsement! And I heartily recommend that it be read aloud to first, second, third, fourth and fifth graders, too!   

other reviews:  Creative Literacy, Kids Lit, Brimful Curiosities

the public library says its subjects are: Behavior -- Juvenile fiction., Apatosaurus -- Juvenile fiction., Pets -- Juvenile fiction., Birthdays -- Juvenile fiction.


  1. I just checked this out to read to my daughters (7 & 4) on our road trip for the holidays. Now I'm even more excited about it. (Plus, I've been quietly cursing our librarian because she hadn't told me about this book.)

  2. I read it to my kindergarten-aged daughter and she loved it. You are right, it is a wonderful read aloud.

  3. Oh, this sounds like FUN. Thank you for sharing! Imagine the fun that author had while writing Lulu's song. Love it.

  4. I read it to my girls on our road trip today and we all loved it. The 7 year old is rereading it right now in our hotel room. I'm sure we'll read it again on the drive home in a few days.

  5. I just read this book, I ordered it with a gift card. I loved especially how she adds her insight throughout the book, it reminds me of Kate Dicamillo. As well as how she chose to end the book. Thank you for sharing. I love this blog has definitely sparked my interest in getting involved with ALAN and the Children Literature Assembly.


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