Reading/Interest Level: Primary
Author: Judith Viorst
Illustrator: Lane Smith
Ill-mannered Lulu wants a brontosaurus for a pet. It is her birthday and she always gets what she wants! After her parents say no, Lulu sets off into the forest alone, hoping to find a brontosaurus herself. She sings a ridiculous and loud song as she skips through the woods. Her singing attracts a big bear, a hungry tiger, and a seething snake. Lulu puts each of these predators in their place with a shout, a wallup, or a bang! She then settles comfortably into her sleeping bag for a night of pleasant dreams. In the morning, the foot of a brontosaur (Mr. B) awakens her. She is overjoyed and tries to drag him home. He agrees that pets are very wonderful things and decides to keep Lulu for his pet. Mr. B has his way until Lulu starts to use a word which has never slipped from her lips before: “please.” Lulu invites Mr. B home for birthday cake.
Lulu is very spoiled. Her character will be humorous to young readers and is sufficiently hyperbolic to open several possible conversations on appropriate behavior. The author pauses the story frequently to add her point of view about the story and Lulu. This artistic device adds even more humor to the story. The illustrations are done in black and white and fit the tone of the story perfectly. The type is large with plenty of white space to encourage new chapter book readers to give reading a try on their own. The humor will draw them in and keep them engaged as they enjoy the pictures and storyline. What keeps this book from an excellent or outstanding rating is that there is no depth to the characters or the story. Lulu's parents fail to notice that she is missing overnight and Lulu does not seem to learn empathy with the dinosaur that she was going to bend to her will. She has learned to say “please,” but that is all.