Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Review - All About Allosaurus

All About Allosaurus
by Greg Gormley
illustrated by Dean Gray
Date: 2020
Publisher: QEB Publishing
Reading level: C
Book type: picture book
Pages: 24
Format: e-book
Source: NetGalley

A fun story that introduces children to different dinosaurs, with a light message on inclusion and friendship.

Allosaurus is fed up. All anyone ever talks about is T. rex. T. rex this and T. rex that. Well he thinks it's his turn now—he's going to write a book all about him. Allosaurus sets to work, but soon everyone wants to be in his book. With a page for everyone, there might not be room for Allosaurus after all. And just what will happen when T. rex finds out she isn't included?

(synopsis from Goodreads)

This was surprisingly bad. I thought the premise sounded really cute, and the cover sucked me in. While the premise might've been okay if executed differently, and the illustrations are fun, the rest of the book is a bit of a mess.

The main issue I had was with the writing. It's all over the place, and it's terribly distracting. The story is told by Allosaurus, and he's writing a book. So he's narrating in the first person, and that includes his dialogue (which isn't set off by quotation marks). The other dinosaurs' speech is set off by quotation marks. Then we've got a slightly different font for the stuff that's actually going into Allosaurus's book. Confused yet?

I'm assuming from the parents' note at the back that the other dinosaurs are supposed to be selfish because they want to be in Allosaurus's book. But if Allosaurus is tired of hearing all about T. rex, it stands to reason that maybe the other dinosaurs feel the same way. So why is it selfish for them to want to be in a book and not for Allosaurus? The self-deprecating compliment-fishing going on at the end is kind of off-putting, too. And I really don't like the way Allosaurus finally wrote about himself in the book. Why? Because it doesn't talk about him in his own right, but in comparison with T. rex. Teaching children that their traits are only valid in comparison to someone else's seems questionable at best.

The pictures are cute, but the writing made me want to pull my hair out:

"Can I be in it, Allosaurus?"
No, Triceratops. It's all about ME.
"But I'm your top best friend."
Oh, alright then.
Triceratops is terrifically strong.
She has a fabulous collar, three horns on her head and is very good at eating her vegetables.
Now, where to begin about me, hmm...

Maybe dinosaurs aren't supposed to be good at grammar and paragraph structure. This one wasn't, in any case.

Thank you to NetGalley and QEB Publishing for providing a digital ARC.

Premise: 2/5
Meter: n/a
Writing: 2/5
Illustrations: 4/5
Originality: 2/5

Enjoyment: 2/5

Overall: 2.33 out of 5

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