Why can’t I be a dinosaur?
Allen & Unwin, 2017
32pp., hbk., RRP $A24.99
Nellie is all dressed up in her dinosaur costume because today is a Dinosaur Day. But it is also her Aunt Daisy’s wedding and she is supposed to be the flower girl and wearing her special purple dress. While some parents might exert their parental power, Nellie’s try a more negotiated approach, as stubborn as any preschooler, Nellie refuses to change and despite her parents’ pleading she stands her ground. Can a compromise be reached with Aunt Daisy having the pretty flower girl at the wedding of her dreams?
This is a funny yet familiar story that will resonate with both parent and child – parents because we can all remember some of the monumental battles we have had with stubborn, determined little people, the child because the adult world does seem to have some weird rules and expectations and having to wear a purple dress to a wedding is just one of them.
It’s refreshing to see a girl in the lead role in a book about dinosaurs and Tom Jellett has captured Nellie’s obsession with them and her feelings at being told no perfectly. You can feel the tension in the air as powerful wills meet even though voices are not raised (except as a dinosaur roar) and the parents remain calm. Lots of discussion points about feelings, doing what others expect, negotiating and compromising and whether clothes really do “maketh the man”.