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Saturday, 21 January 2017

Tyrannosaurus Drip

Author: Julia Donaldson
Illustrator: David Roberts

Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books, 2007

This is Julia Donaldson at her very best. An exciting 'underdog wins' story wherein a vegetarian duckbill dinosaur egg ends up in a Tyrannoasaurus nest. The hatchling does his best to fit in with the meat eating T Rex family, but instinct takes over and the T Rex family want to hunt while the duckbill runs away. 'Drip' as the duckbill is named, accidentally discovers his heritage and then saves the duckbill herd from being eaten by grisly and grim T Rex's when they strike lucky with a new way to get across the river. 

The illustrations in the book are a little chaotic, and according to my five year old tonight, 'don't look enough like real T Rex to be a T Rex' ( the caricature of small arms, sharp teeth, claws don't really go alongside the pink plump bodies), the rhyming narrative is fantastic though, and just rolls into rote. Children probably get slightly more out of this book if they understand a 'reflection', in that dad T Rex falls into the river after seeing his, but the way this book reads aloud (sumptuously) means it's suitable for a broad age range (as is the case with most Donaldson books, the secret, in part, to her success I think).  

I'm not sure the book promotes any helpful messages, 'nature over nurture' (not sure I agree with this one), 'running away to find oneself' (not a message I'd normally advocate in a children's book), the tearful looking T Rex family on the back sleeve always rouses sympathy and questions from my children too, 'what happens to the T Rex family mummy, do they find food?' So possibly not the most well thought-out children's book, but in terms of oral and aural readability - divine. 

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