There are a huge number of picture books about dinosaurs out there. Given the popularity of dinosaurs with young children it’s wonderful to have so many books to choose from. Some of my recent favourite dinosaur stories have been Dinosaur Police by Sarah McIntyre and The Dinosaurs are Having a Party by Gareth P. Jones and Garry Parsons. Tyranno-sort-of-Rex by Christopher Llewelyn and illustrated by Scott Tulloch is a brand new picture book about dinosaurs, full of dinosaurs that you haven’t met before.
Tyranno-sort-of-Rex follows a shipment of dinosaur bones from the desert where they’re dug up, across the oceans, arriving at a museum for a special exhibition. The bones get packed neatly into boxes, with ‘the name of each dinosaur stamped on its case.’ However, when the bones arrive at the museum the boxes are shattered and the bones are all out of order. The bones are dropped off in a heap at the museum and it’s up to the curator to put the ‘fossilised jigsaw’ together. The results of the curators efforts are hilarious! He creates dinosaurs with huge heads and short legs, dinosaurs with two heads, and dinosaurs with incredibly long necks. You wonder if he will ever manage to put them together the right way.
Tyranno-sort-of-Rex is a rollicking tale about a Jurassic problem that is solved with a bit of creativity. Kids will laugh out loud as the curator creates some interesting new dinosaurs. Christopher Llewelyn’s text is a joy to read aloud and really rolls off your tongue. I love the refrain that features throughout the book, ‘WHIZZ went the drill, and his hammer went WHACK! Checking his work the curator stepped back…’ I can’t just see children joining in and making the sounds. This refrain helps to give a sense of suspense, as you turn the page to find out what the curator has created next. Scott Tulloch’s illustrations are the perfect fit for the story. I especially love his illustrations of what the strange new dinosaurs might have looked like.
Grab a copy of Tyranno-sort-of-Rex and share it with the dinosaur fan in your life.
The Bloodtree Chronicles: Sanspell by Elizabeth Pulford
When the Bloodtree loses its last leaf, there will be no more stories in the Silvering Kingdom . . .
The Silvering Kingdom is the home of fairy tales but the kingdom and all those within are in danger of vanishing because the Bloodtree – the source of all stories – has been poisoned.
‘Sanspell’ is a story that has been cursed. It is up to Abigail to enter the fairy-tale world, where she is known as Spindale, and save the story tree. Together with Flint, whose mother Trinket is being held captive by the evil Rackenard, they set off on a journey: three drops of Trinket’s blood is what is required to save the tree. The race is on . . . but can they survive the wicked Zezmena’s spells?
Tyranno-sort-of-Rex by Christopher Llewelyn and Scott Tulloch
Everyone’s heard of a Tyrannosaurus Rex and a Diplodocus a Tyranno-Sort-of Rex and a Bit-odd-ocus?
When the ship carrying boxes of dinosaur bones to a dreadful storm, the boxes are broken and the bones museum curator is tasked with the job of putting them the next day’s exhibition – with curious results!
The Silly Goat Gruff by Scott Tulloch is the second fairytale retelling that Scholastic New Zealand have published this month and it’s absolutely brilliant. Scott Tulloch presents a version of The Three Billy Goats Gruff that you’ve never heard before.
In The Silly Goat Gruff there are three goats called Willy, Billy and Silly Goat Gruff who want to get to the other side of the bridge, where there is lush, green grass. They get sick of nibbling on pine cones and chewing on pebbles and so they each try to cross the bridge. But we all know that there is a mean, smelly troll living under this bridge and he’s also hungry. Just when you think you know how the story goes, Scott turns it on its head.
The Silly Goat Gruff is a hilarious retelling of the classic story, with a twist in the tale that you won’t see coming. The rhyming text flows perfectly, making it a fun story to read aloud. Scott uses some wonderful language throughout the story, words like leer, sneered and smithereens, that many children may not have heard before. I love some of the phrases that Scott uses too, like ‘What the dickens are you doing?’ and ‘I’m scarcely a snack with salad and fries.’ The distinct characters in the story make it ideal for acting out in class, or for a librarian like me to do some great funny voices. The twist in the story made me laugh out loud because it’s so funny and totally silly. Needless to say, Silly Goat Gruff has some hidden talents that come in very handy when facing a hungry troll.
Scott’s illustrations add extra silliness and humour to the story. Silly Goat Gruff doesn’t look the brightest or most handsome goat on the mountain, but I love the way Scott has drawn him, with his tongue hanging out, crooked teeth, and wonky eyes. I’m sure if you were a troll you wouldn’t feel threatened by him in the slightest. The moral of the story though is that looks can be deceiving and you shouldn’t judge anyone by how they look. I also really like Scott’s troll, who looks both scary and cuddly.
4 out of 5 stars
The Silly Goat Gruff is another wonderful New Zealand book that you could borrow from your library or buy from a bookshop (using your NZ Book Month $5 voucher) to share during NZ Book Month.