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Tomie dePaola was born in Meriden, Connecticut, in 1934, to a family of Irish and Italian background. His determination to create books for children led to a BFA from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York, and an MFA from the California College of Arts & Crafts in Oakland, California. His particular way with color, line, detail, and design have earned him many of the most prestigious awards in his field, among them a Caldecott Honor Award for Strega Nona, the Smithsonian Medal, the Kerlan Award from the University of Minnesota for his "singular attainment in children's literature," the Catholic Library Association's Regina Medal for his "continued distinguished contribution," and the University of Southern Mississippi Medallion. He was also the 1990 United States nominee for the Hans Christian Andersen Medal for illustration, and received the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award for lifetime contribution to children's literature in 2011. DePaola has published almost 200 children's books in 15 different countries over the past 30 years. Among his most well-known titles are the Strega Nona series, 26 Fairmount Avenue, and The Legend of the Indian Paintbrush. DePaola lives in an interesting house in New Hampshire with his four dogs. His studio is in a large renovated 200-year-old barn.
PreS-Gr 2-- Little Grunt, the youngest of the prehistoric Grunt tribe, is sent out one morning to gather two dozen eggs for Sunday brunch. Although he searches and searches, he has no luck until, at last, he happens onto the biggest egg he's ever seen. That night, the egg hatches and out comes--(you guessed it)--a dinosaur. Naming it George, Little Grunt keeps it as a pet until its size and habits (it's not housebroken) cause the annoyed tribe to banish it from their cave. Luckily for the Grunts, George holds no grudge, and when disaster strikes (in the form of a volcano), he rescues the whole family and carries them all away to safety and a new home--next door to her nest full of eggs. George becomes Georgina and all live happily ever after. On the surface, this looks like a typical dePaola picture book--colorful and cheery in nature. But both story and illustrations are lackluster, with no surprises or unexpected twists, and none of the sly, gentle humor that have made his ``Bill and Pete'' stories (Putnam) so much fun. Granny Grunt's suggestion that a cockroach might make a better pet than a dinosaur is about as funny as it gets. What could have been a winning combination, dePaola and dinosaurs, is bland and boring--a disappointing performance. --Linda Boyles, Alachua County Library District, Gainesville, FL
The whole Grunt tribe is looking forward to a giant omelet when Little Grunt's egg hunt unearths a huge specimen. Their smiles of anticipation turn to frowns when the potential brunch source blossoms into a freshly hatched dinosaur. George is a lovable little fellow, then a lovable big fellow, then the disgruntled Grunts kick him out. He's not housebroken, and his immense size and strength create other annoyances, such as blowing away the relatives with a single sneeze. Little Grunt is broken-hearted until George proves his worth by rescuing the family from certain doom, and receives suitable approbation--and a final surprise. DePaola's books possess his inimitable stamp, and this prehistoric romp is no exception: the round-faced Grunt clan is unmistakably his, as are the many comical touches such as Chief Rockhead's green banana headdress and the ladies' costume jewelry. This lively twist on the familiar tale of a boy and his pet is sure to provoke giggles. Ages 4-8. (Apr.)
aThis lively twist on the familiar tale of a boy and his pet is sure to provoke giggles.a "aPublishers Weekly" This lively twist on the familiar tale of a boy and his pet is sure to provoke giggles. " Publishers Weekly" ?This lively twist on the familiar tale of a boy and his pet is sure to provoke giggles.? "?Publishers Weekly"