Review Blog

Sep 04 2017

Why can't I be a dinosaur? by Kylie Westaway

cover image

Ill. by Tom Jellett. Allen and Unwin, 2017. ISBN 9781760294724
(Age: 4+) Highly recommended. Dinosaurs, Family, Weddings, Determination. A delightfully funny look at a family wedding, in which Nellie is to be a flower girl, this book will appeal to all readers, adult and children alike. Adults will readily recognise the child who does not want to get out of her favourite costume, and the nervousness that applies to everyone before a wedding, while children will laugh out loud at Nellie's attempts to remain in her favourite guise.
Nellie stomps around in her dinosaur costume, roaring and scaring all others in the house, with Mum quietly reminding her of her position in the wedding as a flower girl. Nellie is adamant that she will not wear the purple dress, preferring dinosaur green and she will be able to eat the cakes on offer even though dinosaurs prefer vegetation. She has an answer for each obstacle. Finally the family arrives at the wedding, seemingly happy with Nellie in her purple outfit, but when she sprinkles the petals, the seated friends and family notice her claws. On closer inspection they see how Nellie has remained true to her dinosaur costume, without quite fooling everyone.
Jellett's illustrations are full of humour as the family prepares for Aunt Daisy's big day. It is wonderful to see a quiet family and friends gathering at home, taking their vows with a celebrant in the back yard of a single fronted cottage in the inner suburbs. This is not the traditional wedding which children see so often in the media and many things about this wedding will engender lots of questions and comments about weddings and what makes a wedding. And Jellett's wry expressions on the faces of all participants add another level of humour to the day.
A wonderful book to read and reread, read out loud or use as the basis of class work and discussion.
Fran Knight

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