cover image Tyrannosaurus Tex CL

Tyrannosaurus Tex CL

Betty G. Birney, John C'Brien. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH), $14.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-395-67648-6

With his wispy lines and pebble-toned watercolors, New Yorker cartoonist O'Brien ( Six Creepy Sheep ; Six Sleepy Sheep ) adds a quirky charm to this disjointed tale of a toothy dinosaur cowpoke named Tyrannosaurus Tex. Here, five cowboys meet up with big galoot Tex while riding the range, and after the fellas get over their surprise, the dino tells them ``about Texas before the people came.'' That night, as Tex and his new bunkies sleep, rustlers set fire to the prairie; it's up to Tex et al. to round up stampeding cattle and put out the blaze. Despite some nice touches, such as giving Tex a ``ten-thousand-gallon hat,'' and some chuckle-worthy chatter (``You're getting too old to beat a biscuit. And Pete's too young to bend a bean''), Birney's narrative is wordy and fails to answer obvious questions. After Tex vanishes into the desert from whence he apparently came, the story limps to a close with the suggestion that the ``boys'' have simply been swapping tall tales around the camp fire. The art, however, might rope in the reader--the spread of Tex reclining, Odalisque -style, near the cowboys in their bedrolls is plumb wonderful. Ages 4-8. (Mar.)