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Not a Pile of Poop!
The Dinosaur That Pooped Christmas - Tom Fletcher
Member Name: jo1976
The Dinosaur That Pooped Christmas - Tom Fletcher
Date: 15/12/12, updated on 06/04/13 (32 review reads)
Advantages: Fun, childish humour, clever use of rhyme and rhythm
Disadvantages: Some Americanisms and terms not likely to be familiar to younger children
As soon as I heard about 'The Dinosaur that Pooped Christmas' I knew that it was a book that would appeal to my three young boys in the run up to Christmas. When I spotted it for just £2.99 on the Book People website a couple of weeks ago, I couldn't resist buying a copy.
Written by Tom Fletcher and Dougie Poynter, of McFly 'fame', this could easily be just another attempt to take advantage of their celebrity status and publish a mediocre children's story. Fortunately, this book succeeds entirely on its own merits as an entertaining and surprisingly well written children's picture book - although the celebrity authors will no doubt give teenagers and young adults a valid excuse to read and enjoy this silly story.
The story is a rather flippant look at a greedy young boy getting his just desserts and a warning to any children out there who have a Christmas list longer than their own height! Santa decides to get revenge on this greedy chap by leaving behind a huge dinosaur egg which duly hatches. The dinosaur soon sets about devouring the contents of the house, people and all, only to find that everything eaten has to work its way out somehow....
The real entertainment value of this story is the sheer silliness and the inclusion of lots of funny references to poo. This is a picture book that appeals to all three of my boys (aged two, five and ten) simply because it is so silly and humorous. They particularly enjoy the scenes when the dinosaur starts to bring back the contents of his stomach in spectacular style, along with hilarious images of Santa sleighing along a giant wave of poo! There may well be a serious moral message within the story but, in all honesty, my boys are too busy giggling at all of the bum and poo references to really take any notice of that.
Fortunately, I'm happy to read and re-read this book many times over as it is actually both funny (in a very puerile toilet humour way) and actually quite easy to read, thanks to its steady rhythm and rhyme. I don't usually include direct quotes from children's stories but I think this one illustrates both the humour and the well-balanced rhythm of the story:
'It pooped out the turkey, the toys and the telly.
And even the tinsel was now brown and smelly.
It pooped all the presents and pieces of puzzles,
It pooped all the things it had previously guzzled.
And then Father Christmas yelled 'OUT OF THE WAY!'
As he flew from the dinosaur's bum on his sleigh.'
That is one of my favourite pages from the story and, whilst this is no literary masterpiece or children's classic, it is certainly very easy to read and pretty memorable.
The only minor issue with the story is that a couple of the references seem to be more relevant to McFly's teen audience than the young children that will ultimately be the main readers of this story. I'm not sure that many very young children will be aware of who King Kong is. (Although my ten year old son did surprise me by knowing that it was a giant gorilla.) The book also uses the term 'Kris Kringle' which I actually had to google as I wasn't sure of its meaning. (Turns out it is an Americanised word for Santa.) There are other Americanisms, most notably the use of 'butt' rather than bum, although the use of the word does rhyme beautifully with the preceding line so I'm inclined to forgive it.
In terms of age recommendations, it is slightly too long and wordy to hold my two year old's attention completely for the entire length of the story and I think some of the aspects of the story go over his head. He does like listening to the rhyme however and the bold and bright illustrations also appeal to him but I would recommend this mainly for children from three upwards, with the upper age limit being whenever the reader feels themselves far too sophisticated to giggle at a picture of when 'Granny plopped out of his bottom'! I suppose there is the potential for young readers to be upset by the notion of a dinosaur eating somebody's entire family but I think the story is so surreal and so plain silly that I can't imagine many young children being genuinely disturbed by the storyline. In any case, everything comes out 'well' in the end, if a little smelly!
Overall, this is a totally silly but entertaining Christmas story that will appeal to any child (or adult) that still finds farting and toilet humour amusing. I paid just £2.99 for my copy from the Book People but no longer seems available on their site. The story is available from Amazon for just over £4 which is still a great price for a humourous take on a Santa story.
Summary: A silly poo-themed Christmas story