A mad capped adventure that follows the inventions of Esha Verma, a ‘genius inventor’.
A Dinosaur Ate My Sister is the first book selected for the Marcus Rashford Book Club and the first in a series of three by Pooja Puri. The book quickly introduces us to Esha, Broccoli and Archibald (a tortoise). This is a fantastical story that we probably all dream could happen. They invent a time machine (that works). They then get the opportunity to terrify the older sibling. Who would not want to read that? As the title suggests, they go back in time and meet the dinosaurs where all sorts of adventures take place.
This is such an engaging and fast paced adventure that you may need a rest every few pages. What I particularly liked was the way her two main characters are effectively the authors. Esha is the main author and we are pulled into the texts with notes from the author, lists and calligrams. However, Broccoli interjects. He edits her work. He changes her ideas and he quietly asserts his voice.
Throughout the story concepts, ideas and facts are introduced that make you want to find out more. The fonts are used creatively to draw attention to things, to move the reader along. Illustrations are used to break up the text and often explain ideas. At the end of the book there are how to guides to encourage more activity related to the book.
It is such a dream of a book to use in the classroom, especially if you are studying dinosaurs, or inventors. Although it over 300 pages long, it is very easily accessible for Y3 and above thanks to the interweaving of illustrations and it has a relatively large font. Although the main character is a young girl, she is written in such a way that she would engage both boys and girls. Her apprentice, Broccoli is a beautifully written character that shows that sometimes the quiet underdog has more power than you realise.
I loved the statement in the first chapter: ‘For inventors, unknowing is one of the best things in the world. Unknowing gives you tickles in your toes, itches in your britches and makes you feel spine-tingly all over.’ This was the hook, it drew you in and makes you want to be an inventor.
Shortlisted for the Lollies 2023: Best Laugh Out Loud Books for 9-12-year-olds
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