Book: Ally-saurus & the Very Bossy Monster
Author: Richard Torrey
Age Range: 4-8
Ally-saurus & the Very Bossy Monster is the sequel to Ally-saurus & the First Day of School (which my daughter and I enjoyed but which I didn't review for some reason), both by Richard Torrey. The books feature a little girl named Ally who is obsessed with dinosaurs, and wants to be called Ally-saurus. In this installment, Ally and her friend Kai, along with Kai's little brother, Petey, are having a perfectly lovely time playing in the Ally's front yard. Ally is stomping around and roaring like a dinosaur. Kai is dancing "across a grand stage". And Petey is wandering about with his clearly precious teddy bear.
This live and let live fun stops when the bossy new girl who lives next door comes over and insists not only that they all play monsters, but that they play her way. Ally is not allowed to be a dinosaur and Kai is not allowed to dance. Because Maddie declares herself rule-maker in chief. Flashbacks illustrate other instances of Maddie's over-the-top bossiness. But when Maddie messes with Petey's teddy, Ally-saurus finally strikes back.
In truth, Maddie's bossiness is a bit over-the-top. One wonders why on earth Ally and Kai put up with it for as long as they apparently did. And the resolution is a bit pat, with Maddie folding instantly once the other three put on a united front. But I do think that Ally-saurus & the Very Bossy Monster gives parents a vehicle for talking with their kids about what to do when another child is too bossy.
I like that what tipped Ally over the edge was a threat to her friend's younger brother, rather than meanness to herself. And I like the way that Ally and Kai, when left to their own devices, are free spirits. Kai is a boy who just wants to dance and perform. Ally is a girl who wants to roar like a dinosaur. So be it. I also like that the kids are playing on their own in the front yard, apparently for the whole day, and have to resolve their own conflicts. [This may not be realistic in 2017, but it should be.]
I also love Torrey's illustrations. The kids are drawn in black and white, but each has colored lines showing how they see themselves in their imaginations. Ally-saurus has spikes and a tail. Kai has a top hat and bow tie. And Maddie has a monster outline, and a crown (showing her self-appointed ruler status). The colors used for each child are picked out in the children's own drawings, too, lending a pleasing visual coherence to the story.
Ally-saurus & the Very Bossy Monster is a whimsical take on an issue that all kids struggle with at some point - how to manage when a bossy kid comes along and tries to take over. Fans of the first book will certainly want to give this one a look. It might even inspire them to stand up to low-level bullying. Paired with the first book, these could make a nice classroom read aloud for early elementary schoolers. Recommended.
Publisher: Sterling Children's Books
Publication Date: August 8, 2017
Source of Book: Review copy from the publisher
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