Lulu and the Brontosaurus (Lulu #1)

by Judith Viorst (Author) Lane Smith (Illustrator)

Lulu and the Brontosaurus (Lulu #1)
Reading Level: 4th − 5th Grade
Series: The Lulu Series
It's Lulu's birthday and she's decided she'd like a pet brontosaurus as a present. 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 she takes matters into her own hands and 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 gotten her birthday wish at last. Until she realizes 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 to tall to bonk on the head with her suitcase), or smushing her pickle sandwich?
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Kirkus Reviews

Starred Review

Pitch perfect for the beginning chapter-book crowd.

Publishers Weekly

While no one can question Viorst and Smiths street cred, theyve 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 doesnt 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 whos more willful (and far better mannered about it) than she is. Will Lulu spend the rest of her life as the dinosaurs 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 Viorsts irreverent, metafictional nudges. Is that where a brontosaurus would live? In a forest? Im afraid that Im not absolutely sure. But since Im the person writing this story, Im putting this brontosaurus in a forest. Its an approach thats 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. Smiths angular pencil illustrations bubble with arch humor, but its not enough to rescue this effort. Ages 610. (Sept.)

Copyright 2010 Publishers Weekly Used with permission.

School Library Journal

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 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

Judith Viorst
Judith Viorst is the author of the beloved Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, which has sold some four million copies; the Lulu books, including Lulu and the Brontosaurus; the New York Times bestseller Necessary Losses; four musicals; and poetry for children and young adults. Her most recent books of poetry include What Are You Glad About? What Are You Mad About? and Nearing Ninety.

Erik Blegvad was born in Denmark and studied at the School of Applied Arts in Copenhagen. Mr. Blegvad has illustrated more than one hundred children's books, including Twelve Tales by Hans Christian Andersen, Riddle Road by Elizabeth Spires, Hurry, Hurry, Mary Dear! by N. M. Bodecker, and Sea Clocks: The Story of Longitude by Louise Borden. The Blegvads divide their time between England, France, and Wardsboro, Vermont.
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Publication date
September 14, 2010
The Lulu Series
BISAC categories
JUV019000 - Juvenile Fiction | Humorous Stories
JUV002060 - Juvenile Fiction | Animals | Dinosaurs & Prehistoric Creatures
JUV051000 - Juvenile Fiction | Imagination & Play
Library of Congress categories
Rhode Island Children's Book Awards
Nominee 2012 - 2012

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