Dancing with the Dinosaurs

Jane Clarke, illus. by Lee Wildish. Charlesbridge/Imagine! , $12.95 (32p) ISBN 978-1-936140-67-1
It’s a running joke that the celebrities on Dancing with the Stars are often a bit past their prime, but the stars of this reality-show riff are downright extinct. And while some of the puns used to introduce the 14 contestants are dated (“The Hadrosaur Duckbills are everything they’re quacked-up to be”), Clarke’s upbeat rhymes and the electric palette of Wildish’s cartoons should hold readers’ attention. “Tango with our T. Rex,/ do the Steggy twist and shout!/ Disco with the Duckbills/ and shake is all about,” writes Clarke (Gilbert the Great), as Wildish (Dragon Stew) portrays the dancers in goofy costumes (Steggy is, for some reason, dressed like a hippie, while the duckbills strike their best Saturday Night Fever poses in platform shoes). The high stakes are even higher for the judges, seen disappearing, one by one, in insets that build a bit of tension before a finale that reminds readers that a dancing T. rex is still a T. rex. It’s fun, lighthearted entertainment, best enjoyed by budding fans of either dinosaurs or dancing. Ages 3–up. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 12/12/2011
Release date: 02/01/2012
Genre: Children's
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