cover image All Aboard the Dinotrain

All Aboard the Dinotrain

Deb Lund, , illus. by Howard Fine. . Harcourt, $16 (40pp) ISBN 978-0-15-205237-9

This follow-up to Dinosailors follows the transportation-crazed reptiles as they work on and ride the rails. Once the dinocrew (wearing jaunty railroad caps) has loaded up the train with "Coal and lumber, oil and grain" and the prehistoric passengers have boarded (they ride atop the cars since they're far too big to fit inside), the train departs from its station on the plains and heads for the mountains. Fine renders his scenes of goofy, grinning and occasionally overall-wearing dinosaurs with a hilarious sense of skewed elegance—the painterly brushstrokes and luminous, almost romantic pastel hues make the pictures seem like natural history museum murals as imagined by a daft paleontologist. As in the first dino-tale, the journey soon devolves into a series of comic mishaps. At one point the scaly fellows get out to push the train (" 'We think we can!' they dinosay"), and they end up soaking wet and huddled together on a single handcar for the trip back home, swearing, "We'll never take another train..." However, they hint that their traveling days are not over ("But how about a dinoplane ?"). While not quite as rollicking an adventure as Dinosailors (or as gross), there's plenty of slapstick fun in these pages, and Lund shows no sign of exhausting her supply of dino-hybrid words (a "dinostoker" shovels coal while the train's engine "coughs and dinochugs") Whether youngsters are fans of trains, T-rexes or both, they'll find this outing dino-mite. Ages 3-7. (Apr.)