Lulu is a pain. Her response to any refusal is to screech ‘until the light bulbs burst’. So when her parents steadfastly turn down her demand for a brontosaurus as a pet, she decides to find one for herself. She sets off through the forest meeting a number of animals on the way. Does she achieve her wish? As Viorst would say, ‘Read and find out’.
This is a lively story that owes a lot to traditional tales and such classics as Dahl’s Enormous Crocodile, and like them would be an ideal read-aloud. Viorst adopts a deliberate storytelling style, addressing the reader directly – both the author and her audience become part of the story. This is traditional in format; Lulu is horrible to the animals she encounters. However, in the brontosaurus she meets her match and learns how to behave. As a result, her return journey which should see her punished is a triumph as, like Vasilissa, she makes amends. Viorst then further subverts the tradition by providing more than one possible ending – once again inviting her young audience to be involved in the creation of her tale
The text is admirably enhanced through the accompanying illustrations by Lane Smith, whose approach is, naturally, ideally suited to such gently humorous and subversive prose. Stylised and decorative, his illustrations capture both the traditional and the contemporary aspects of the narration. This book is perfect for those children who, while still very much enjoying picture books, are also looking for a more extended narrative.