Romeosaurus and Juliet Rex

Mo O’Hara, illus. by Andrew Joyner. HarperCollins, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-06-265274-4
When Shakespeare’s star-crossed lovers become dinosaurs, “both alike in lizardness,” it’s good-bye principles of tragedy, hello nonstop jokes. Instead of Montagues and Capulets, Romeo is an herbivore stegosaurus, the sort of dino that Juliet Rex’s carnivorous family eats for dinner. The two instantly connect at a party, despite the fact that Romeosaurus must liberate his aunt from the buffet table, where she’s the main dish. A balcony scene ensues—although, as Juliet helpfully points out, “There’s a stone ramp over there”—and after a misunderstanding at the tar pits, the families agree to put aside their differences. O’Hara (the My Big Fat Zombie Goldfish series) and Joyner (The Pink Hat) know their audience well: in this version, the relationship remains strictly platonic (“They giggled, they talked, they played”), and the irreverence is such that even readers whose cultural literacy doesn’t yet include the Bard will feel in on the spoof. Dinosaurs dressed in medieval garb are as funny as they sound, but the cartooning never takes potshots at its improbable characters. Juliet may be a huge green tyrannosaur, but she’s also figuratively fierce in her puffy dress. Ages 4–8. Author’s agent: Gemma Cooper, the Bent Agency. Illustrator’s agent: Kirsten Hall, Catbird Productions. (Dec.)
Reviewed on: 10/08/2018
Release date: 12/01/2018
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