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Rex, a tiny chameleon, is the class pet. Every day someone gets to take him home, along with a notebook for recording his adventures. How cool is that?

But what's really cool about Rex—the book—is that those exploits are depicted as though each classmate has actually done the artwork. In the course of 32 pages, Rex manages to go for a swim, fall out of a window, and get dressed up as Malibu Barbie. And at the ...

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Rex, a tiny chameleon, is the class pet. Every day someone gets to take him home, along with a notebook for recording his adventures. How cool is that?

But what's really cool about Rex—the book—is that those exploits are depicted as though each classmate has actually done the artwork. In the course of 32 pages, Rex manages to go for a swim, fall out of a window, and get dressed up as Malibu Barbie. And at the end, readers are encouraged to invent their own adventures with Rex. . . .

How cool is that?

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
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.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature - Ken Marantz
Rex the class pet chameleon goes home every day with someone in the class. With him is a book in which his activities that day are to be recorded, in words or pictures. Our narrator shows us the report about what Rex did with Jai on Monday: a delightful double-page sketch of Rex in Jai's pool. "Luckily he can float." On Tuesday Rex falls out of Hilary's window. Wednesday he frightens some customers in Sam's mom's flower shop. Amy's little brother dresses Rex in Malibu Barbie's clothes on Thursday. But it is the excited imagination of our narrator when it is her turn to have Rex all weekend that really brings the fun to its climax. Somehow Rex becomes an enormous companion at the movies, in a restaurant, snuggled in her bed, snoring away. The final challenge to the reader is to picture what "would you do if Rex came to visit you?" Mackintosh visualizes these adventures for the daily journal with sketchy colored illustrations that could easily have been produced by youngsters in some instances. In others, he depicts the narrator struggling to the movie theater with two buckets overflowing with popcorn, or sitting at a table with the huge Rex joining her in devouring an enormous pile of hamburgers. All the fun-filled scenes are bursting with youthful, joyful imagination.
School Library Journal
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 Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
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)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781596431867
  • Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
  • Publication date: 8/22/2006
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Lexile: 360L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 10.02 (w) x 10.07 (h) x 0.43 (d)

Meet the Author

URSULA DUBOSARSKY is one of Australia's leading authors of books for children and yong adults. She lives in Sydney.

Born in Belfast, raised in Australia, and now living in London, DAVID MACKINTOSH is a fine artist and designer, as well as an illustrator.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 28, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Writing with Rex

    I stumbled on this book at the bookstore. This is a story about a class pet. Since I don't have a real class pet, I made a dinosaur (no chameleons) to go with the book.

    Each Friday, a student is picked to take Rex home for the weekend. I have a book sack that contains the book, Rex, rules and a notebook. The students take Rex home and read the book to parents, siblings, etc. and then write what they did with Rex. They are free to add pictures or souvenirs of their time together.

    My 3rd grade students loved the experience and were very excited when it was their turn. We shared each Monday morning their experiences. It gives the students the opportunity to connect with a book, the character and their home lives.

    One of the things my students enjoyed the most!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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