Monday, April 18, 2016

Book Review: Al, The Story of a Vegetarian Dinosaur

Al: The Story of a Vegetarian T-Rex by Ron Stoltz is a very different kind of dinosaur story … because Al is a very different kind of dinosaur. You see, Al is a vegetarian, something that’s unheard of in the carnivore community where everyone likes to eat meat. Al loves veggies and fruit, especially strawberries. He doesn’t even mind if a couple of bugs have taken a few bites out of the strawberries. The other kids laugh at him and think he is weird, but Al sticks to his choices. His parents are so concerned about Al’s eating habits that they send him to his aunt who is a great cook. She whips him up some Stegosaurus steaks, but it’s a no go, Al won’t eat it. His aunt gives up on him and sends him home. En route, a storm brews and all the lightning, thunder, and rain force the T-Rex kids to take shelter in the school. A huge tree falls over, blocking their escape. What can they do? Amazingly, Al has the answer, an answer that turns him into a hero.

What a delightful story for young readers! The illustrations are absolutely fantastic and bring the scenes to life on every page. Al is a truly lovable character that young readers will relate to and cheer on, especially when it comes to being a hero. The messages are subtle yet strong – it’s perfectly acceptable to be different, to make choices that determine your path in life, and to stick to your beliefs, even when the pressure is on from family members and friends. With many families eschewing meat products for various reasons, the child who may have felt uncertain will now be reassured that not eating meat is fine, if that’s what you want. This is perfect for parents and teachers to read aloud to kids, and to put on various voices and/or sound effects where necessary. An absolutely five-star read for the family.

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