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“That’s the wonderful thing about Christmas. Every second away from last Christmas is one second closer to the next,” Mr. Trundle. –The Christmasaurus
by Tom Fletcher
Once upon a time—long, long ago, when dinosaurs roamed the Earth—an egg rolled away from its mother and landed in the ocean, where it froze solid and stayed peacefully for thousands of years. Then, one day Santa and his elves discover the frozen egg, and Santa sits on it to see if it will hatch. But he would’ve never guessed what’s inside. . . . a dinosaur!
Meanwhile, a young boy named William Trundle has only ever wished for one thing for Christmas: a dinosaur! So, when Santa accidentally gives William the real Christmasaurus instead of a stuffed replica, it’s the BEST CHRISTMAS EVER! That is until Hunter, an evil man known, decides a dinosaur will be the perfect addition to his collection.
The story draws readers into the text by using large text for some of the sillier words, such as “big,” “astronomically,” “intergalactically,” and “outer spacey-wacey big!” The black and white illustrations have wonderful details and show the characters’ emotions. Although younger readers may be interested in the topic, the difficult vocabulary and long, descriptive passages may be hard for some readers to tackle.
The Christmasaurus tackles themes of loneliness, friendship, and seeing things from another person’s perspective. Both the Christmasaurus and William are lonely because they are different from others. However, unlike the Christmasaurus, William is the target of bullying. Through William’s experiences, the story shows how words are “the most powerful weapon of all.” Brenda uses nasty words that “infected the whole school,” making everyone avoid William. Soon William feels lonely and different. “Brenda had planted those awful words like rotten seeds in William’s brain, and they were beginning to grow into rotten thoughts.” However, in the end, William and Brenda both learn valuable lessons about kindness.
Despite William’s difficulties, William remains kind and his true desire is that his father finds happiness. The heartwarming story brings Santa’s magical world to life. However, The Christmasaurus is never predictable and has several surprising plot twists. In the end, The Christmasaurus is a sparkly story that teaches the importance of putting others first.
- In the past, a meteorite killed all of the dinosaurs. The rocks “smashed straight down like red-hot thunderbolts that exploded into thousands of fireballs as they hit the earth! Panic and chaos consumed the jungle.” The Momosaurus and Dadlodocus tried to save their egg, but it “rolled into the stampede, unharmed.” The egg eventually hatches.
- William accidentally wheels over Brenda’s foot. “She jumped backward in pain, sending her tray of barely edible sludge flying up into the air. . .” Brenda’s food ends up in her hair. Then, “she pulled back her hand and launched the plate of green slop into William’s face at point-blank range. It hit him with such a wallop that it sent his wheelchair whizzing backward across the cafeteria, through the emergency exit, and out into the parking lot.”
- Brenda bullies William and throws things at him. “She’d use her skill to hurl sticks like javelins from the far side of the playground straight into the spokes of William’s wheels. They’d jam the wheels so suddenly that his wheelchair would stop. . . but William wouldn’t.”
- When the teacher leaves the room, “a shiny black stapler flew across the classroom, straight at William’s head. William tried to block it with his notebook, but the force of the throw was so strong that the book smacked him straight in the face, and the stapler stapled it to his forehead.”
- While at the grocery store, someone throws “a tub of double-thick, extra-creamy whipped cream” at William. “The flying wave of dairy hit him with such force that it sent his wheelchair whooshing backward, slipping and sliding on the cream-covered floor of the cereal aisle, until he smashed into the shelves . . .” The sprinklers go off “transforming the supermarket into the world’s largest bowl of cereal.”
- The Hunter is a villain that hunts animals. “He liked to hunt really ridiculously rare animals. . . He had the ears of a pandaroo, the gills of a horse-shark, the tail of a snailwhale. . .”
- The Hunter wants to kill the Christmasaurus. “BANG! A bullet suddenly whizzed past, inches away from William and the Christmasaurus. It smashed the streetlight behind them, sending shards of glass showering onto the street below.” Both William and the Christmasaurus are able to run away.
- Santa tells a story about a boy named Huxley, who takes a hunting knife and “began to hack at the reindeer’s antlers! The deer launched high into the air inside the stables, smashing through the roof!” The deer takes off, dragging the boy behind him. “The young boy was so scared as he clung to the dangling reins in the sky that, in his panic, he began to wish the deer couldn’t fly.” The boy takes a piece of the reindeer’s antlers.
- The villain sets a trap. When William goes down this, he is trapped in a net. “He stopped fighting for a moment as he swung helplessly and took a glance around. . . Santa was lying in a large heap on the floor below him with his hands tied tightly behind his back so that he couldn’t move.” William’s father was also “tied up with thick rope in the corner of the room. . .”
- William’s father, Mr. Trundle, tries to stop the Hunter from killing the Christmasaurus. “Bang! The gunshot rang out, deafening loud as it tore through the street.” Mr. Trundle is alright, but The Hunter shot the Christmasaurus. “There was only a shadowy heap, lying very still in the distance where the dinosaur had been.” The dinosaur is not injured.
- The Christmasaurus ate the Hunter and “there was nothing left of that beastly evil man.”
Drugs and Alcohol
- The story uses some name calling. For example, “Most bullies are stupid, jealous jellybrains.”
- Santa calls someone a “repulsive, evil, maliciously rotten skinbag.”
- When the Christmasaurus charged the Hunter, he says, “What the devil?”
- The villain tells William, “Now, listen to me, you stupid, puny little child. I’m going to speak to you slowly so that your undersized brain can understand me. . .”
- Santa’s reindeer can fly because “millions of children believe that Santa’s reindeer can fly. They believe beyond any shadow of a doubt, and belief is the most powerful magic there is.”
- Santa can learn things about anyone. Santa holds the person’s letter and “his sky-colored eyes closed and rolled back in his head, and after a few seconds, he knew everything there was to know about William Trundle.”
- Santa can make magical toys. “He once made a rocking horse. . . which he enchanted so it came to life every Thursday night.” Another time he made a prince a “racing car so that it got smaller and smaller each time the young prince misbehaved!”
- Santa is able to enter through a chimney by making everything big. “It was almost as if the entire world grew very large all of a sudden. . .”
- The Christmasaurus is able to fly because William believes he can.
- When the Christmasaurus gets to the North Pole, he disappears. William “put the candy cane in his mouth and bit off a chunk. POP! As he bit down, the most spectacularly magical thing happened. He didn’t disappear, as the Christmasaurus had. Quite the opposite, in fact: everything else appeared.”
- Santa’s tears are the only thing strong enough to banish a person from the North Pole.