cover image A Boy Wants a Dinosaur

A Boy Wants a Dinosaur

Hiawyn Oram. Farrar Straus Giroux, $13.95 (1pp) ISBN 978-0-374-30939-8

His friend Alice has two snails, Ben has a dog and Alex is absolutely desperate to own a dinosaur. His grandfather says, ``A boy wants a dinosaur this much, a boy should have a dinosaur.'' At the Dino-Store Alex falls in love with a female Massospondylus, which he buys and names Fred. The logistics of owning such a monstrous pet are daunting: dinosaurs eat constantly (``two bags of fossils soaked in all the milk in the fridge'' are but a snack), while the requisite marsh that Alex builds overflows the confines of the bathroom. Soon Fred isn't as spunky as she once was, and Alex and his grandfather walk her out into the country where she perks up considerably at the sight of ``a crusty old swamp.'' In a snappy surprise ending, Alex reconsiders pet ownership--in more realistic terms. Oram's gently raucous sense of humor is fully exercised in this droll tale. Exhibiting their characteristic clarity and angularity, Kitamura's ( When Sheep Cannot Sleep ; Lily Takes a Walk ) illustrations brim with fanciful details. Ages 3-6. (Apr.)