I'm Sure I Saw a Dinosaur

Jeanne Willis, illus. by Adrian Reynolds. Andersen Press USA (Lerner, dist.), $16.95 (32p) ISBN 978-0-7613-8093-1
When a boy spots a living, breathing dinosaur on the beach one wintry morning—"and I'm sure that he saw me," he adds with alarm—frenzy overtakes his town, which resembles Lyme Regis on England's southwest coast. Gapers (bearing everything from cameras to nets and swords), the media, scientists, and every branch of the armed forces all throng to the spot. "They came with sweets and sandwiches/ and soup inside a flask," writes Willis. "Some didn't know why they were there/ but didn't want to ask." The damp English chill is almost palpable in Reynolds's outdoor scenes, as is the nearly unstoppable momentum of a crowd's folly. Ultimately, readers are let in on the secret: the dinosaur and the story's narrator are one and the same—the costumed young son of the "ice-cream man," who's helping to create a demand for his father's frozen goodies during the off-season. Some adult readers may tsk at this twist, but as Willis and Reynolds proved in Who's in the Bathroom? (2007), a little transgressive humor never did anyone any harm. Ages 4–9. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 08/01/2011
Release date: 09/01/2011
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