Tea Rex

Molly Idle. Viking, $16.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-670-01430-9
Children know how dinosaurs say goodnight, but what’s the drill when one of them comes to tea? Idle (Flora and the Flamingo) explains it all, mining the comic chasm between a briskly genteel narrator and a fanciful reality. “When hosting an afternoon tea for a special friend—greet your guest at the door,” she instructs, as a girl and her younger brother, dressed in their Sunday best, welcome a huge green tyrannosaurus (its belly fills the doorframe while its beady, eager eyes peer through a half-circle window at the top). This isn’t going to be easy, but the creature is game, settling its humongous bottom onto an alarmingly petite chair and pouring with gusto, if not grace. The dainty, uniformly light colors, coupled with the dinosaur’s velveteenlike texture, can make some of the story’s many funny moments a bit difficult to discern at first glance. But Idle has a gift for comic composition, and her precise pencil linework and tidy borders exude a sense of authority and propriety worthy of Miss Manners, imposing order and decorum on the increasingly chaotic scenes. Ages 3–5. Agent: Lori Nowicki, Painted Words. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 02/25/2013
Release date: 04/09/2013
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