Ridin' Dinos with Buck Bronco

George McClements, Author . Harcourt $16 (32p) ISBN 978-0-15-205989-7

McClements (The Last Badge ) combines two favorite themes—cowboys and dinosaurs—and produces surprisingly bland results. Narrator Buck Bronco, who once brought home some “loco-looking eggs,” now operates a dinosaur ranch, and promises to teach readers “everything you need to know 'bout ridin' dinosaurs.” Like a combination of Roy Rogers and Gumby with his sheepskin chaps and blue bandana, Buck lectures on such topics as “Choosin' Yer Mount” (“You'll have to decide between the speed of a biped or the comfort of a quadruped”) and “Saddlin' Yer Dino” (“Unless ya got glue in yer britches, we'll need to tack up!”), and offers tips on various “Types of Ridin'.” Mixed-media collages portray dinosaurs in all manner of goony if cheerful poses and occasional facts about dinosaurs (“Biped = 2 Legs”; “Diplodocus = 88 feet long”). However, few of the busy spreads seem to have a focal point, a problem that, in a figurative sense, afflicts the text as well. The illustrations and information are only vaguely accurate, a disappointment to dino aficionados, and the book doesn't offer much in the way of a plot; it's more of a slow trail ride than a rootin'-tootin' tale. Ages 3-7. (Sept.)

Reviewed on: 09/24/2007
Release date: 09/01/2007
Genre: Children's
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