cover image That’s What Dinosaurs Do

That’s What Dinosaurs Do

Jory John, illus. by Pete Oswald. HarperCollins, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-06-234319-2

Scaring people by roaring loudly at them is bad, right? Right. But William the T. rex does it anyway. In vignettes and panels that feature a faded, beachy vibe, Oswald portrays the fun William has scaring others. At a bus stop, riders are waiting politely in front of a bush when William bursts forth: “ROAR!” The bus riders jump, shocked, but the dino is clearly delighted. After a weekend of frightening folks renders William hoarse, the doctor orders no roaring. (Oswald pictures the doc peering down William’s toothy maw like Doctor De Soto; there’s a bicycle, a fishing rod, and more back there.) As William’s throat heals, a bandage around his snout, people smile and wave. No matter. When his convalescence is over, William goes right back to roaring, for “That’s what dinosaurs do!” This divertissement by the creators of The Bad Seed gleefully flouts picture book convention. Not only does William show no remorse; his misbehavior, John seems to argue, is part of his very nature. Since the protagonist’s cheerful id triumphs over his civilized superego, the story won’t do for readalouds where moral rectitude is required. But if laughter is wanted, William’s your dinosaur. Ages 4–8. [em]Author’s and illustrator’s agent: Kirsten Hall, Catbird Productions. (May) [/em]