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
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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