Monday 9 January 2017

Review on The Christmasaurus

William Trundle is a young boy who is obsessed with dinosaurs! When he writes a letter to Santa asking for a dinosaur, the last thing he expects to wake up to is a real life dinosaur in his house! However, William soon discovers that the dinosaur has in fact got lost. William must help the Christmasaurus get home to the North Pole, but with the infamous Hunter trying to shoot the dinosaur to claim as a hunting trophy, it may be more difficult than William had hoped.

So I have to admit that the main reason why I bought this book was because I adore Tom Fletcher. I've been a huge McFly fan for over ten years, and I was excited when Tom announced that he was going to be writing a children's novel! After the success of his dinosaur that pooped series, a collection of picture books co-written with fellow band mate Dougie Poynter, Tom has decided to take his obsession with dinosaurs and Christmas a step further in the form of a novel.

One of the first things I noticed about this book was how much Tom put his personality into it. As a pop star and YouTuber, Tom is very much in the spotlight, and as well all know, famous names sell books. There has been some controversy in celebrities having their books ghost written, so I was glad to see that was definitely not the case with this book. The Christmasaurus practically oozes with Tom's personality, and I loved picking up on little things, such as Tom naming William's dad after his own father, and loosely basing the character around himself.Tom has a great sense of humour, which comes across brilliantly in this book, and had me laughing out loud several times! This book will definitely have children and non boring adults laughing. Along with the humor, I also loved the poetry. As a song writer, Tom is extremely talented at writing both lyrics and poetry, and I adored how the elves tried to make all their sentences rhyme.

One of the main things that I loved was that this book has a disabled protagonist. I feel as if disabled characters are usually defined by their disability. It is often the first thing about them that is described before things such as looks, likes and dislikes, so I loved the fact that the book didn't mention that William was in a wheelchair until the seventh chapter, by which time we had learnt other, more important things about him. William's wheelchair is a part of who he is. There are no miracles where the endgame is William being able to walk again, and William has come to terms with his disability, and doesn't feel sorry for himself. I loved that William was so confident, as I feel as if characters like William could give disabled children the confidence boost that they need. We are not made to feel sympathy for William due to his disability, as although he does have problems, they don't revolve around him being disabled. I loved that William was able to go on an amazing adventure without his disability holding him back, and I loved how it gave a positive message that just because a child has a disability, it shouldn't stop them from going on adventures and achieving their dreams.

I loved how this book was full of fun, Christmassy magic, from miracles, Santa, flying reindeer and showing toy making in a whole new perspective! Although this is not a picture book, it was still full of gorgeous illustrations that helped to break up the walls of text. I felt as if this was great for children who had the skills to read this book for themselves, as young children often have a short attention span, so I felt as if the illustrations would keep children interested in the story for longer.

The only negative thing I have to say about this book involves the ending. One thing I hate is the idea that a family isn't a real family unless it involves a mum and a dad. There are so many children who live with either a single parent or same sex parents, so I always feel as if showing that a “normal” family has to include a mum and a dad can be harmful. I initially loved the idea of Bob Trundle being a single parent, and doing a brilliant job of raising his son. However, I was disappointed when William's biggest wish was for his dad to find a new girlfriend. I was hoping that Mr Trundle would explain he didn't need a romantic relationship to be happy, so I was disappointed when he suddenly became interested in William's enemy-turned-friend's mum in the last few pages, who had previously snubbed him. I was disappointed that the only adult female in the book turned out to be nothing but a love interest for one of the male main characters. As the only other female in the book was an ableist bully for half of it, I felt as if this book really needed more positive female characters.

Apart from the disappointing ending, this book is full of magic, plot twists and character development, and is the perfect festive read for any dinosaur lover!

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