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Lulu and the Brontosaurus (Junior Library Guild Selection) Hardcover – September 14, 2010

4.7 out of 5 stars 82 customer reviews
Book 1 of 3 in the Lulu Series

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Editorial Reviews

From 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. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

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. Grades 1-4. --Daniel Kraus
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 6 - 10 years
  • Grade Level: 1 - 5
  • Lexile Measure: 910L (What's this?)
  • Series: Junior Library Guild Selection
  • Hardcover: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers; 1 edition (September 14, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416999612
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416999614
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (82 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #459,198 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Judith Viorst has written many books for children, including the classics Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day and its sequels, and If I Were in Charge of the World and Other Stories. She is also the author of Just in Case, illustrated by Diana Cain Bluthenthal. She lives with her husband, Milton, in Washington D.C.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Lulu wants nothing other than a pet brontosaurus for her birthday. When her parents tell her that she won't be getting one. She gets very upset. She throws a fit, screams, yells, pounds the ground - does anything and everything for her parents to relent and get her her pet brontosaurus. But her parents are having none of it. They refuse to get her what she wants. Well Lulu is having none of that. She feels that if her parents won't bring her a pet brontosaurus then she'll just have to get her own pet brontosaurus. So she sets off on an adventure into the forest to find herself her new pet, all the way signing:

I'm gonna, I'm gonna, I'm gonna, gonna, get
a bronto-bronto-bronto-bronto-saurus for a pet!

In the forest Lulu comes across a number of animals: a snake, a tiger, a bear but none of them particularly impress her. Until she finally finds him... her brontosaurus. But she soon realizes that Mr. Brontosaurus has his own plans... he thinks she'll make the perfect pet for him! What is Lulu to do?

This is the perfect read-aloud for children 4 and up. With Ms. Viorst's witty storytelling and Lane Smith's charming illustrations you have a pleasant and clever story. I thought Ms. Viorst's attitude shone perfectly throughout Lulu's pages - on more than one occasion saying that since it's her story, it is more than perfect for a Brontosaurus to be living in the forest. Originally I read this for myself and then I read it to my children and I can't begin to describe the joy and wonder in their little faces as I read this to them. Not only is it a funny and clever story but it is also a story with a good moral. It teaches children that you can't always have what you want but especially to listen to your parents.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Not the best book for non-punitive families.

The narrator of the book calls Lulu names (a pain in the butt, etc.), and characterizes her as a bad rude and manipulative little girl with permissive parents. The story goes on and eventually Lulu is kidnapped by a brontosaurus. The book implies that she deserves this treatment for being rude. She escapes, but then begins feeling badly for the brontosaurus and wonders if he is feeling sad that she left. Too much victim blaming and hints of stockholm syndrome for my taste.

Lulu does behave very rudely, which obviously has to be addressed. But for families who work hard to teach empathy and parent (non-permissively) through empathy, the way that Lulu is characterized and how she "learns her lesson" is not the best.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Lulu spends the first half of the book being bossy and abusive to everyone around her, from her parents to strangers she meets in the forest. So it's difficult to feel sorry for her when things don't go her way.

Later she bribes the forest dwellers to leave her alone. Although she's learned to say "please" she never bothers to apologize. Lulu assumes that there will be birthday cake ready whenever she decides to come home, and guess what - there is. She seems just as bossy at the end of the story, like when she tells her parents that Mr B will be staying for cake and lemonade.

The author keeps up a defensive running argumentative commentary with the readers, telling us to keep our comments to ourselves because *she* is the author, and she'll tell the story how she wants to tell it. I'm not sure how this will work when we're reading the book to kids... This appears to only be a device so that at then end she can admit that she doesn't know everything about Lulu (since she's "just the person who's writing this story").

The multiple-endings idea is interesting, and I'm interested to see how this plays with kid readers.

The illustrations are interesting - I enjoy all the textures in hair, tree bark, brontosaurus skin. My favorite part of the book was discovering a bat asleep in a hole in a tree.
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Format: Hardcover
I am a school librarian for grades K - 4. I read this book to all of my classes. It was wonderfully suited for reading aloud. The fourth graders loved it just as much as the kindergarteners....they all loved chanting the "Brontosaurus song" and delighted in all of Lulu"s outrageous behaviors. This book has to be the best book we obtained for our library this year.
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Format: Hardcover
It blows my mind that this book doesn't have more reviews; I've bought three copies already -- after seeing how much my kids love it, we've been giving it at nearly every birthday party. In addition to a fabulous story, catchy song (you'll be singing it yourself), and great message, the meta-humour is entertaining even for parents burnt out on children's books. This is the one you'll hope your kids pick night after night.
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Format: Paperback
Lulu's parents never say no. But when she announces she wants a Brontosaurus for her birthday, Lulu's parents finally have to put their foot down. Lulu won't take no for an answer, so she heads off into the forest to get her own Brontosaurus, but the dinosaur has other plans. Of course, there's a lesson hidden in here for "sweet" Lulu.

As a parent reading these chapter books to my son, it's easy to get bored. Judith Viorst has a wonderfully dry sense of humor that left my son and I giggling throughout the book. The illustrations by Lane Smith give just the right amount of visual interest without killing the ability to create your own images in your head.

What a wonderful chapter book! We ate up Lulu and the Brontosaurus, laughing and eager to find out what happened next. Chapter books abound for kids, but this one is an absolute winner.
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Lulu and the Brontosaurus (Junior Library Guild Selection)
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