Reviews provided by Syndetics
Publishers Weekly Review
Rex, a chameleon, belongs to an elementary school class and lives in a bucket-size aquarium. After school each day, explains the girl narrator, "someone gets to take Rex home," and uses a communal classroom journal to "write all the things Rex did on his visit." Some students draw pictures rather than write in the journal, and Mackintosh (Aussie Nibble: Poor Fish) gives whimsical renditions of what the crayon results might look like. A boy with a pool draws smiling swimmers and a giant, scaly green foot; a girl who lives in a high-rise draws a fire-breathing Godzilla climbing the Empire State Building. When the narrator anticipates taking care of Rex for the whole weekend, she fantasizes about sitting on a Tyrannosaurus rex's head to watch a movie. Australian author Dubosarsky writes open-ended comments and questions that leave Rex's true nature up to the reader. "Would Rex like a giant hamburger?" the narrator wonders, and Mackintosh pictures the girl with an ordinary lunch tray, Rex (as dinosaur) with a pile of paper-wrapped burgers. Dubosarsky never describes an actual chameleon, and in Mackintosh's artwork, Rex is seldom small, rainbow-hued or secretive. Instead, according to the pictures, all of the children fantasize about Rex not as a little lizard but as a dinosaur, albeit one that changes colors. Dubosarsky and Mackintosh have fun with one joke, but neglect the full range of possibilities that arise when a self-camouflaging creature meets a handful of creative children. Ages 4-8. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
School Library Journal Review
PreS-Gr 2-At the end of each school day, the class pet chameleon goes home with a different child, along with a journal. The experiences that the students record and the accompanying pictures are largely flights of fancy, as tiny Rex is depicted as an enormous Tyrannasaurus Rex that falls out of a window unscathed and terrorizes customers in a flower shop. He goes to the movies and a restaurant, is dressed as Malibu Barbie, and takes a dip in a pool. While there is humor in the situations described, the line between fantasy and reality is blurred, and readers are slightly uncomfortable, knowing that if there are any factual roots to the stories, the animal is being cavalierly treated if not downright abused. The color cartoon illustrations have a lot of energy, but sometimes the childlike drawings are totally unattractive.-Grace Oliff, Ann Blanche Smith School, Hillsdale, NJ (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
This chronicle of a week in the life of class-pet Rex, a chameleon, unfolds in words and art from the kids in the class, who each have an opportunity to take Rex home. In a special book, class members record all the things Rex did on his visit. Rex's various adventures, drawn to look like the children's own art, are shown on a special page that appears to be from a tablet or diary, distinguishing the kids' work from the illustrator's other pictures, which are done in cartoon style. In many of the drawings, Rex looks more like a dinosaur than a chameleon, but that reinforces the idea that the pictures are from a young child's perspective. With only one or two short sentences per page, the text clearly reflects a child's point of view; it is also very accessible to beginning readers. To encourage children to use their own imaginations, the story ends with the question, What would you do if Rex came to visit you? --Randall Enos Copyright 2006 Booklist
Horn Book Review
Schoolchildren draw wildly divergent pictures of their class pet, Rex, a chameleon who goes home with a different child every each day. The premise--chameleon Rex is whatever each kid wants him to be--is inspired but may require some explanation. The ebullient art effectively reflects the kids' individual styles (although some of the children themselves are rendered fairly grotesquely). (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. All rights reserved.
Kirkus Book Review
A small, shy-looking chameleon is transformed into a giant dinosaur each night in this imagination-stretching import. Every day a different child takes the class pet home, with the assignment to describe or draw a picture of what it does. Mackintosh's pictures, drawn in a quick, childlike style on lined paper, tell different and far more exciting tales than the chatty comments. On Tuesday, for instance, when Hilary takes Rex home to her apartment and reports that he fell out the window, the accompanying scene shows a massive, toothy, fire-breathing monster climbing a skyscraper. Likewise, when he unexpectedly goes for a swim, his huge foot alone fills the pool; another time he's dressed as Malibu Barbie, but the bikini top is barely visible on his scaly chest, and he--or rather, just his towering, tyrannosaur-like muzzle--is last seen sharing a bed with the delighted young narrator, who gets him for the entire weekend. Young readers, dinophiles and (if there are any) otherwise, will be eager to answer the closing question: "What would you do if Rex came to visit you?" (Picture book. 6-8) Copyright ©Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.