A Dinosaur Ate My Sister by Pooja Puri

Illustrated by Allen Fatimaharan.

Published by Macmillan Children’s Books, 2021.

Esha Verma is a self-proclaimed genius inventor extraordinaire. She is determined to win the Young Inventor of the Year contest. For the past three years running, she and her apprentice Broccoli have always come second place. This year, they have pulled out all the stops and invented a time machine! Surely this will bag them the highly coveted Brain Trophy?

Unfortunately, on the eve of the competition, disaster strikes. Nishi (Esha’s terribly annoying older sister) barges into her room, sits in the time machine and – against Esha’s express instructions – presses the big red button. The time machine is activated and disappears back in time to the Cretaceous Period with Nishi in tow. This sequence of events causes an unusual spike in ‘time energy’ and triggers the arrival in Esha’s bedroom of another time machine with Secondus Secondi, New Officer of Time and representative of T.O.O.T. (The Office of Time), at the helm. Soon Secondus, Esha, Broccoli and Archibald (the pet tortoise) are all heading back to the Cretaceous Period on a mission to rescue Nishi.

What follows is a very funny, high-octane adventure full of chaos and high jinks. Esha ends up chased by a T-Rex, kidnapped by a pterodactyl, and covered from head to toe in stinky dinosaur poo. There are wormholes, a malfunctioning time machine, and ripples in the space-time continuum which threaten the very existence of life itself.

The book is presented as Esha’s journal and, as such, the pages are designed to look like a spiral bound notebook. There are annotations, diagrams, pictures and doodles, making the book really appealing and accessible.

The characters, their relationships and the dialogue are all very relatable and realistic. I loved Esha’s energy and confidence and enjoyed how it’s juxtaposed with the fear and caution of her long-suffering, anxious apprentice Broccoli.

I really enjoyed the book’s informal style and conversational tone, especially the way Esha directly addresses the reader. Children reading the book are going to feel included in the story this way – almost as if they’re Esha’s confidants.

A Dinosaur Ate My Sister is a brilliant mix of mayhem, invention and adventure. Kids are going to love it!

Rating: 💙💙💙💙

Suitable for children aged 8+

Thank you to Macmillan Children’s Books for sending me this book to review.

I reviewed the book as part of the A Dinosaur Ate My Sister blog tour where Pooja talked to me about creating a relatable and inspirational female lead character. You can read her guest post here.

A Dinosaur Ate My Sister is the first book selected for Marcus Rashford’s book club.

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