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Santasaurus

When I took La Serpiente to the library on Saturday, she picked out various unsuitable books (notably Where’s Walrus?, a book entirely lacking in any words whatsoever, and which she demands I ‘read’ every night) and also Santasaurus, a book that is inappropriate not only because it is set at Christmastime, when we’re in the tropics and it’s the end of February, but also because it’s about dinosaurs, which I’m pretty sure were never part of the Judaeo-Christian tradition, and thus don’t seem to be an appropriate creature to feature in Christmas stories.

There are three child dinosaurs: Ollie, Mollie and Milo, and Mumasaurus and Dadasaurus, as well as the eponymous Santasaurus, who has a white beard and a sleigh pulled by dinodeer. Which, from the illustrations, look like … deer.

I’m not saying it’s just a lazy mapping of humans onto dinosaurs without any real thought for invention, but that’s what it is.

Ollie and Mollie, being venal and inconsiderate, only want presents for themselves like a dinobot and a dinocycle. (Avid fans of Peppa Pig will recall that when George had his beloved dinosaur toy replaced with a battery powered simulacrum, Dinoroar, it only ended in disappointment and recriminations.) Milo, on the other hand (claw) is curious and thoughtful, only wanting to see Santasaurus and go help deliver presents.

It’s disappointing, therefore, that there’s no detail of the trip he takes with Santasaurus around the world, apart from a picture of a saurian-themed New York. He returns home and the next morning justice has not been served: Milo gets a miniature sleigh to play with, yes, but the two feckless ingrates that are his siblings have got their dinobot and dinocycle without doing anything to deserve them.

The claim that the answer to the question of whether everyone is happy is a resounding “Yesasaurus” rings pretty hollow. It turns out that to get what you want, you just have to lie in bed and not lift a finger, and it will come to you. No wonder these feckless dinosaurs went extinct.

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