cover image Buying, Training & Caring for Your Dinosaur

Buying, Training & Caring for Your Dinosaur

Laura Rennert, , illus. by Marc Brown. . Knopf, $16.99 (40pp) ISBN 978-0-375-83679-4

Literary agent Rennert's debut picture book opens on a wry note, explaining, “Dinos make great pets, but some may need a little more housebreaking than others.” But this manual for dinosaur owners falls short of the premise's comedic potential. A rather flat rundown of five species recommends triceratops as “a great watch-dino,” pteranodon as a skilled catcher of fly balls at baseball games and spinosaurus as a “great warm-weather dino” that can cast shade on summer days; kid-pleasing tidbits are scattered throughout. Subsequent spreads offer tips on “teaching an old dino new tricks,” including sit, heel and roll over (“Let's not even go there”), as well as feeding, bathing and other aspects of prehistoric pet ownership. Though the text's humor is sometimes strained, Brown's (Wild About Books ) innovative art (gouache paintings of each image in reverse on glass) is consistently entertaining, spotlighting playful dinosaurs and happy children in scenarios that feature electric hues and rich textures, driving home the parting message: “Dinos are for fun!” Ages 5–8. (Oct.)