Are the Dinosaurs Dead, Dad?

Mlanie Watt
Julie Middleton, illus. by Russell Ayto. Peachtree, $16.95 (32p) ISBN 978-1-56145-690-1
Reviewed on: 01/07/2013
Release date: 03/01/2013
Paperback - 32 pages - 978-0-552-56366-6
Open Ebook - 32 pages - 978-1-4464-8014-4
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A harrumphing, trilby-hatted father takes his son, Dave, to the dinosaur museum with unexpected results. Dave’s father pooh-poohs the question of the title (“Dead? Yes, the dinosaurs are all dead”), despite the fact that every time they go into a new room and Dave’s father turns his back, something odd happens. The ankylosaurus winks at Dave, the deinocheirus uses its very long arms to try and tickle him, and the allosaurus offers Dave a toothy (and slightly menacing) grin. Ayto’s (Where Teddy Bears Come From) minimalist line drawings deliver laughs with images like a line graph—its axes are labeled “Number of Dinosaurs” and “Years Ago (in millions)”—populated with comically dead dinosaurs, their tongues lolling. When the tyrannosaurus rex leaves his platform and shows a bloodthirsty interest in the pair (“Run, Dave, run!” says Dad on the final page), Middleton leaves the characters in the lurch and readers wondering how it all turns out. Still, she does a fine job of channeling the fears—or fantasies—of young dinosaur fans. Ages 4–8. (Mar.)
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