Newest Review: ... I still wasn't 100% sure my son would like this. He has a beloved toy Mega Parasaurolophus who - according to my son, finds the term du... more
The Ugly Duckbill
Tyrannosaurus Drip - Julia Donaldson
Member Name: broxi3781
Tyrannosaurus Drip - Julia Donaldson
Advantages: Perfect book for reading out loud.
Disadvantages: Illustrations are not as good as most of Donaldson's books.
We have a fair number of books by Julia Donaldson. I really like the way she writes in rhyming text. I know frequently listening to rhyme is a key component in developing literacy, but I have never liked the traditional rhymes. I have tried reading them to my sons, but they really haven't taken much interest either. Since I don't read nursery rhymes often, I've tried to make up for this by making sure they hear plenty of stories with rhyme, and there is something very nice about reading a rhyming story out loud if the author can manage to get the rhythm and rhyme just right - and still tell a good story. I've no interest in a book which rhymes at the expense of the story - and there are far too many of them out there. Julia Donaldson has always managed to get it just right though - and I believe that to be a rare talent.
So - since I like Julia Donaldson - and I am always looking for really good dinosaur books for two dinosaur mad little boys, it may seem surprising that I have only owned this book for a few months. I had read a review someplace ( I believe it was book club site - it was some time before I found Dooyoo) that it was a book about bullying, and that the main character was a gentle Tyrannosaurus Rex who liked to sing , the way this book was described never really appealed to me, so I never bothered to look any closer at this book. It is a shame as well because now that I own the book - I know the original reviewer never read it. I came across this again recently when searching for dinosaur books. This time the illustration caught my eye. There are two big ugly Tyrannosaurus Rex, but the small dinosaur below is most definitely not a T Rex. it isn't a terribly accurate drawing - but it does look more like a Hadrosaur than anything else. So I read the product description, came here and read a few Dooyoo reviews and on Amazon which clearly state that the main character is a duckbill dinosaur.
I still wasn't 100% sure my son would like this. He has a beloved toy Mega Parasaurolophus who - according to my son, finds the term duckbilled dinosaur highly insulting. He does not look like a duck he insists - the stupid paleontologists who called him that look like ducks. The proper family name is Hadrosaur and he insist that not just himself, but also other members of his species be referred to by their correct name. I also wasn't terribly impressed by the cover art I've always thought Julia Donaldson and Alex Scheffler make a great pair with his brightly coloured art work perfectly matching her stories, and I do find the illustrations in this are just not of the same quality as those in The Gruffalo, Zog , or The Monkey Puzzle. Still it was about a Hadrosaur and I can assure there are very few story books about this type of Dinosaur ( if anyone knows of others please let me know). My son really does love all Hadrosaurs but most especially Parasaurolophus. The dinosaur in this book is too crudely drawn to be certain which species it is meant to be, but Parasaurolophus would be my best guess. This book was only £2.81 used from Amazon ( New would be £7.58) so I decided to take a chance. I am very glad I did.
This is a brilliant story about a duckbill egg that, through a series of unfortunate events ends up in T Rex nest. The T- Rex mother isn't very smart, and can not count, so she doesn't notice that she now has 3 eggs instead of two. Babies 1 and 2 are perfect little T-Rex hatchlings, but the little duckbill is a disappointment from the moment he hatches. His mother is horrified by his appearance, but Dad is a bit more tolerant. Things go from bad to worse when he declares that he will not eat meat - preferring a vegetarian diet. He can't even shout out the family's war cry "Up with Hunting.....Up with War..... "Up with bellyfuls of Duckbill Dinosaur" ( it sounds better in the book a it has some more text in between). Instead he hoots "Down with hunting", "Down with war" and "Down with bellyfuls of duckbill dinosaur". The poor duckbill is always an outcast in his own family, dubbed Tyrannosaurus Drip, but when they leave him alone to go hunting - he runs away and finds happiness with his own kind. But what will happen the T-Rex family finds Drip and his new found friends. Will they all end up as bellyfuls of Duckbill Dinosaur? I won't quite give away the ending - but I will give a bit more detail under the spoiler alert at the bottom of the review.
My son did end up really loving this book - and I could recite it in my sleep by now. he did complain the first time about the use of the word duckbill, but I explained that the author probably thought that "Up with bellyfulls of Parasaurolophus dinosaur" might have been a bit too hard for some readers. The fact that he is willing to tolerate this infraction shows how much he really enjoys the story - and even Mega Parasaurolophus has come to enjoy - or at least so I am told by my son. It is a perfect book for reading out loud, as always Donaldson has perfect rhyme and cadence making this a real pleasure to read, but it is a good story as well. It is the type of book that you simply must read with loud shouting and growling for the T-Rex family and hooting and tooting and for Duckbills. It isn't the best book to take a long to a doctors visit or for traveling by public transportation, but it would be great fun in classroom and it is wonderful at home where we are free to be as noisy as we like.
This is intended to be read aloud, not as a book for a struggling new reader. While some aspects like the rhyme would help a new reader to guess at the text, and the overall vocabulary is not very difficult, I feel the style of the text and the mottled background it is printed on would make reading more of a struggle for brand new readers. I haven't rated down for this though as I really do feel this a book for parents to share with their children, rather than just give it to them to read alone.
I'm afraid I would only give this book a 3 for illustration, and even my son commented on drawings being not quite right. They are not in any way bad - they just are not brilliant either, and they certainly are not a match for Gruffalo . Despite this, we really do enjoy the story, even if it a bit of a rehashing of the Ugly Duckling tale. It does have a bit of moral to it, although I wouldn't quite class it as an anti bullying message. Considering the amount of fun we have had with this book - I really can't give it anything less than 5 stars, and my son agrees.
I do not normally agree with spoilers, but I do think parents may want to know the ending in some cases. I will not completely give away the ending this time, as I don't feel it is necessary, but I will go into just a bit more detail beneath my spoiler alert in case parents require further information before making a choice as to whether this is suitable for their child. Whether this counts as a spoiler or not I'm not quite sure in this case, but better to error on the side of caution. I truly hate when people give too many clues to the ending of an adult book - or a young adult book as many adults, myself included read those as well, but I feel most parents are more concerned with their child's reaction than any surprises in the story.
********************* SPOILER ALERT****************************************
The ending of this book is not violent, and no violence is ever shown. Drip shows us that brains can triumph over brawn in a very funny ending. We don't quite see the T-Rex's ultimate fate - the ending just engineers a way for them to be removed from the scene. My son does say they died though, but I believe this is the ending he wants - so they no longer pose a threat to the duckbills. You could say they have just gone far away though and either premise could be supported equally easily. I do not feel the ending is scary in any way, and neither did my son.
Summary: Wish I had tried this book sooner.