“ Hardcover: 30 pages / Publisher: Pelican Publishing Co / Published: 1 Nov 1999 „
Everyone has a vice. Mine is books. Now that doesn't sound so bad - but then you havent seen how many I have. I have bookcases in every room in the house, barring the kitchen and toilet. To say I have a lot of children's books is like saying the Antarctic has a lot of snow. And this isn't even counting the boxes of books I have donated to our local library and Children's Hospital. We only keep the really good books - and for one to stand out as one of the very best in our collection requires something really special. Before I begin though - I will warn that review could be taken as containing spoilers. I think you all know how the story of the three pigs ends - but this does contain a twist. I feel the twist is one of the factors that makes this book really worth buying though, and as this book really is a children's book only - I can not see any adult reading this except to determine if this book is suitable for their child.
To begin with, this book sounds some what interesting, but nothing to make it really stand out over 100's of other books. The story is simply a retelling of the three little pigs. Instead of pigs, we have three brachiosaurus hatchlings. Tyranosaurus Rex takes the role of the big bad wolf. The illustrations are quite good. The dinosaurs are somewhat cartoonish, but the addition of junk food comic books and video games to the pictures brought a laugh. The expressions on the dinosaurs faces was very good as well, but the best thing about the illustrations was that most of them depict amusing scenes.
I think the fact that my children always liked the three little pigs, and dinosaurs contributed to them liking this book so much. In fact, looking back the first book either of them really loved was a bout dinosaurs, and even before that, they both loved the story of the three pigs which I would act out for them as babies. The story is good, if well known and expected. What makes it exceptional though, is the banter between the T- Rex and the three Brachiosaurus brothers. For starters - T Rex insists on calling the Brachiosaurs pigs - something the little sauropods strongly object to. They shout back and forth, but he manages to destroy the first two houses as expected. The third house is made of stone though, and completely resistant to huffing and puffing. The third brother also happens to be the best at slagging - teasing T Rex about his horrible breath until he is furious - but as well all know the third house will not blow down.
That should have been the end of the story ..... but it isn't T- Rex is more persistent than the wolf, and he spends years plotting and planning his revenge. At last he comes up with a way to knock down the house of stone - but T Rex has forgotten one thing. Brachiosaurus hatchlings, like all sauropods are comparatively small - but they grow very quickly into one of the largest creatures to have ever walked the earth - nothing takes on a full grown Brachiosaurus - much less three of them.
My children are ages 4 and 7. My oldest believes he is too old for picture books, but he was happy to listen to this one, and laughed until their were tears in his eyes just like his brother. I had no sooner finished reading this first time when my youngest asked to hear it again.... and again. They both listened to it 3 times, laughing the whole way through. I do put on voices to make it more dramatic, but this is the perfect book for this type of performance. It would also do nicely for a play or in our case - stop motion animation project. It has quickly become a favourite in our house. I only wish I had found it sooner.
With all the stomping and shouting, huffing and puffing, teasing and laughing, this book would be perfect for babies and toddlers. Older children will catch on more to the humour, and many will enjoy seeing the little dinosaurs get their own back on the big bully - who doesn't look very big at all by the end of the story as he squeaks out an apology.
I really can't recommend this book strongly enough. I would recommend this for ages 6 months - 8 years. For the most part, this book is easy to read. The brachiosaurus brothers are never reffered to by their proper name, they are just called dinos or brothers. There is a Stegasaur mentioned once and Tyrannosaurus Rex is mentioned frequently, but I find children are usually quite familiar with this dinosaur and the anme could easily be guessed by the context. The print is not especially large though, and is sometimes printed over a patterned background which may prove distracting for some young readers. Finally, while I can see the appeal of this book for some children who are learning to read at a later age, as it's humour and fun may get them to overlook the fact that it is a picture book - this book is really at it's best read out loud.
New copies of this book sell for £11.66 - and I wouldn't hesitate to pay this price for the book now that I know how good it is. I paid less than £6 for a used book in very good condition though, and new books are available from Amazon for under £7 - all prices including postage.