Dinorella: A Prehistoric Fairytale

Pamela Duncan Edwards, Author, Henry Cole, Illustrator Hyperion Books $15.95 (32p) ISBN 978-0-7868-0309-5
In this offbeat fairy-tale homage, Edwards revisits the alliterative format of her Four Famished Foxes and Fosdyke. Dinorella, a shy, pink dinosaur, lives with two greenish-brown diplodochi. ""Dinorella was dainty and dependable. Dora and Doris were dreadful to Dinorella."" Her lot improves at a party hosted by Duke Dudley, ""the most dashing dinosaur in the dunes."" Bedecked with diamonds and a prom gown by ""Fairydactyl,"" Dinorella arrives to find her herbivorean Prince Charming being attacked by a carnivorous deinonychus (a gratuitously gross image reveals the predator has bitten the duke's tail to the bone). Dinorella's selfless actions save the duke, who pronounces Dinorella ""definitely quite a dish,"" bandages his tail and ""dance[s] off into the dawn."" Edwards's focus on the letter D adds a playful, if cloying, twist to this mildly funny, dino-eat-dino story. Cole's anachronistic illustrations place prehistoric volcanoes and an ominous red sky next to 1950's-style flourishes (e.g., the hoodlum wears a white T-shirt with rolled jeans, and the duke's den is a neon-lit diner with tailfinned cars in the parking lot). Cinderella and dinosaur devotees may find humor in this retelling, but there's a forced zaniness in the settings and situations, and Dinorella comes off a bit daffy and dreary. Ages 5-9. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 09/01/1997
Release date: 09/01/1997
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