A menagerie of fanciful beasts springs from the imagination of the young artist who narrates this slim collection of verses: ""My dinosaurs/ walk from my brush/ and live,/ they do what my/ moving hand/ tells them to do,/ they are paint/ on paper./ I love them."" The premise is promising and the lineup engaging, with such creatures as the Smellasaurus, Messysaurus and Shoppersaurus (""The dinosaur mall/ Is his main habitat"") lurking on the pages. But both Greenfield and Gilchrist (previously paired for Night on Neighborhood Street) turn in uneven performances. A number of Greenfield's verses display a nimble, Prelutsky-like wit--the jaunty Babysaurus, for instance, is ""his mama's little baby,/ Smiling sweet in Tennessee,/ But his middle's in Montana,/ And his tail's in Waikiki"")--while other entries are awkward (""He fell when he tried to do a handstand,/ He fell when he walked a beam,/ But he was the greatest at landing on top/ Of his gymnastics team""). Gilchrist's fans will find only a few of her usual warm, realistic watercolor portraits (namely, of the child speaker); most of the illustrations are rendered in colored markers, in a flat, cartoonlike style, as if drawn by the narrator himself. Unfortunately, the result is not so much childlike as contrived--the compositions lack spontaneity. Ultimately, this is neither the author's nor the artist's best effort. Ages 4-up. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 03/01/2001 Release date: 03/01/2001 Genre: Children's
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