cover image How to Grow a Dinosaur

How to Grow a Dinosaur

Jill Esbaum, illus. by Mike Boldt. Dial, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-399-53910-7

Babies can be loud, smelly, and unpredictable, but they also give older siblings a chance to become role models. These are familiar topics, but Esbaum (Frankenbunny) and Boldt (There’s Nothing to Do!) infuse them with fresh comedy by transplanting them to a dinosaur household, where readers meet a newly minted older sibling with orange scales, a huge head, expressive eyes, and a toothy grin. The hero struggles to find footing with the baby (who is pink and quite adorable in its dino diaper), but Esbaum offers the reminder that “you’re the perfect one to teach that baby everything.” Some of the older sibling’s ideas work better than others: presented with the family’s pet saber-toothed cat, the baby promptly turns it into a teether. But soon a happy friendship is forged. Esbaum combines the classic cheerleading tone of the how-to genre with shouted choruses of “Good news!” and “Bad news!” that reflect the peaks and valleys of siblinghood. It’s an ideal setup for Boldt’s broadly funny digital paintings, which include an entire spread devoted to dinosaur tantrums. Ages 2–5. [em]Author’s agent: Tricia Lawrence, Erin Murphy Literary. Illustrator’s agent: Jennifer Rofé, Andrea Brown Literary. (Jan.) [/em]