In this aimless picture book, Horrible Holly, a fearsome girl, disobeys her parents and turns a hose on her schoolteacher. Such an incorrigible child demands an evil sidekick, so when the world's only dinosaur escapes, Holly decides, "Woweee!... A real raptor. That's just the sort of pet for me!" She locates the runaway ("we can be twice as horrible together!"), but discovers he only wants to eat her for lunch. Holly bolts "to a deserted island where she was sure she was safe," and stays there for the remainder of the book. Meanwhile, the dinosaur effortlessly takes Holly's place in polite society (the joke being that the flesh-eater is nicer than its would-be captor). Ratnett (Monsters of Class 7) strains to be silly: with Holly in exile, the raptor delights its adoptive family by doing housework and winning sports medals. Evans (Tiffany Dino Works Out) uses jagged borders to intensify his day-glo palette of fuschia and green, and he depicts the raptor as a mini T. rex with rolling eyes and a lolling tongue. In the end, Holly never has to face any consequences for her abominable behavior (the dino even sends Granny to the island for Holly to torture) and the book's point is nowhere to be found. Ages 4-8. (Sept.)
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Horrible Holly was just about the nastiest little girl around; even her family said so. She was always doing and saying horrible things. When she reads that a real raptor is loose in the town, Holly decides to find it and keep it as her pet. She finds the raptor, and tries to bribe it into being a friend by giving it her T-shirt and headphones. When she smells the raptor's stinky breath, it's so horrible she runs away. When Holly's parents see the raptor, they think it's Holly and take him home to live with them happily ever after. And where's Holly? Well... the whole tale is just unappealing.
Children's Literature - Meredith Kiger
PreS-K--A tale of a truly horrible child whose own Granny suggests "a bath in cold onion soup." Holly terrorizes her town, her home, and her school, until the day she decides to try to claim an escaped baby raptor as a pet. The text is frantically overwritten--"Holly felt that hot, smelly breath on her face and saw those huge, glistening teeth coming towards her"--and is suitably illustrated with garishly frenetic illustrations. Clever picture books starring semi-villains abound--James Stevenson's books about the Worst, Jack Gantos's "Rotten Ralph" series, William Steig's Frankenstein-like Shrek (Farrar, 1993)--but Horrible Holly fails to join their company. Readers, like the girl's parents, will not regret her exile to a desert island and will happily replace her with more engaging company.--Kathleen Whalin, Greenwich Country Day School, CT
School Library Journal - School Library Journal