Kids’ Book: Tyrannosaurus Drip (Julia Donaldson/David Roberts)

The kids’ bookshelves are jammed with gorgeously illustrated, lovingly gifted books. Some of the ones that are most requested and best ‘value’ are those we buy on sale in the big bins at the back of the shop. Tyrannosaurus Drip (written by Julia “The Gruffalo” Donaldson and illustrated by David Roberts) is one of these. I probably ask to have it as often as the children do, and both of them (aged 5 and 2.5) are fans of the book. The book is about a baby duckbill dinosaur who ends up in the wrong nest, and realises just how out of place he is as a pacifist plant-eater among war-mongering carnivores. Being rejected from his ‘family’, however, gives him the freedom to find his real home. One of the reasons I picked this book up in the first place was because of Roberts’ illustrations. They’re wonderful drawings, infused with witty details and expressions; the colours are strikingly bright. I loved the Tyrannosaurus family’s nasty red sharpness contrasted with the duckbills’ soothing green whorls. Donaldson’s writing offers the usual high standard of rhythm and fun.

Here’s an excerpt from the book:

Out hatched Babies One and Two,
as perfect as can be,
But Mother T was horrified by Baby Number Three.
And she grumbled, “He looks weedy,”
and she grumbled, “He looks weak.”
And she grumbled, “What long arms – and look, his mouth is like a beak!”

“He just needs feeding up,” said Dad
and gave the babes some meat.
The first two gulped and guzzled
but the third refused to eat.
And he said, “I’m really sorry,”
and he said, “I really can’t.”
And he said, “This meat looks horrible. I’d rather eat a plant.” 

Donaldson is the Children’s Laureate for 2011-2013 (Quentin Blake, another one of my favourites, was the first Children’s Laureate in 1999-2001). If you, like me, had no idea there was a Children’s Laureate, you’ll want to know that they “[receive] a bursary of £15,000 and a specially designed and inscribed silver medal”. Along with much adoration and many library bookings over their term, I’m sure.

We’re a household that has The Gruffalo as a book, DVD, and we went to see the live show at Gasworks Park last year (which was excellent fun).

This book doesn’t seem to get as much exposure as the others in Donaldson’s stable (like the Gruffalo stories), which is a pity. It’s one of our family’s staunch favourites, along with another bargain bin book that involved counting with (Egyptian) mummies…but more on that one another time.


8 thoughts on “Kids’ Book: Tyrannosaurus Drip (Julia Donaldson/David Roberts)

  1. inchinatown 13/02/2012 / 11:01 pm

    Hi Tseen,
    I think the Gruffalos were after my 16 year old’s time. The book sounds great. My boy loved Winnie the Pooh (English and original version), Tintin, Harry Potter and the Paolini books. When he was smaller, he loved the Alison Lester books and a book of nursery rhymes twice a day. Sadly, although he is talented in English, it is a real struggle to get him to read fiction, except at school. He does watch lots of films that he has downloaded. I hope that he is learning something from these “texts”. Last night he watched Mickey Rourke in Angel Heart, on my recommendation. I am not a fan of horror or thrillers but thought this was one was a seriously scary film. It was probably the last such I will see.

    • Tseen Khoo 14/02/2012 / 11:35 am

      I can’t wait till the kids get into Harry Potter. We’ve watched the 1st two movies together, but they’re still a bit scary for the little ones. E. (who’s 5) is dead keen to watch the whole series, but we’ve had to put the brakes on them because they do ratchet up the scares (esp when the dementors come along…). Our kids love the Alison Lester books, too, and David Melling ( is also a favourite. I also really like Giles Andreae’s books ( –> OMG! I’ve just found out he’s the guy behind “Edward Monkton” [whose stuff I LOVE]).

      E. has only just started reading (she read her 1st book last night!!), and I’m champing at the bit for her to get into it…

      I’m a total horror buff, so if your son wants recs, feel free to hit me up!

  2. Narelle Lemon 14/02/2012 / 12:32 pm

    I love this book. The illustrations are delightful and you can just look at them for so long. So glad you found it and a bonus it was in the bargain bin 🙂

    • Tseen Khoo 14/02/2012 / 12:50 pm

      I always pick books by checking out the pictures first! Judge a book by its cover? Always! 😛

      • Narelle Lemon 14/02/2012 / 1:10 pm

        I would have to admit the visuals get me more than the text more times than not with children’s books. The story comes second and I love it when I enjoy both.

        • Tseen Khoo 15/02/2012 / 9:09 am

          Me, too. That said, I’ve become a huge fan of clever rhyming books. So many of the children’s books have lame or very simplistic (predictable) rhyming. Some very good writers get the rhythm just right and it’s great fun to read out loud.

  3. fiajawhiteman 08/06/2012 / 12:14 am

    This book looks great. HP – tried to get Wom into it, but he was a bit like Alice in Wonderland..what’s the use of books without pictures. He got into Wind in the Willows, so if there’s an edition of HP first couple of books with a few line drawings here or there, i’m sure i could get him into it… but to time the introduction of other books. I’ve been exploring books by Donovan Bixley. I think he was Oz now Kiwi…had this beautiful book about Mozart. Letters from Mozart (?) PRetty much Mozart’s letters… Comes with a CD.

    • Tseen Khoo 08/06/2012 / 10:06 pm

      E.’s getting better with fewer images, scattered line drawings, etc. She says that the teacher sometimes has the kids close their eyes when she’s reading them a story because it allows them to use their imagination. She’s enjoying the thin kids’ books with magic, monsters and the like. I can’t wait till I can read her pictureless novels. That day is coming very soon!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s