cover image Crunch, the Shy Dinosaur

Crunch, the Shy Dinosaur

Cirocco Dunlap, illus. by Greg Pizzoli.. Random House, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-399-55056-0

Crunch%E2%80%99s name is in the title, but this very funny story is really about the relationship between the reader and Dunlap%E2%80%99s (This Book Will Not Be Fun) unseen, tightly wound narrator. The narrator%E2%80%99s goal seems sweet and straightforward enough: to introduce the reader, through some interactive prompts, to the pink and introverted Crunch, seen peering out from some thick foliage. But Crunch is exquisitely sensitive and eccentric, and the narrator, though struggling to stay upbeat, is clearly losing energy and patience. Urging readers to sing %E2%80%9CHappy Birthday%E2%80%9D to coax Crunch out, the narrator babbles a bit deliriously: %E2%80%9CHe loves birthdays because someone has one every day. He loves days in general. He%E2%80%99s very positive.%E2%80%9D Pizzoli (Good Night Owl) draws Crunch as eager, friendly, and a total goofball; when Crunch thinks he has heard %E2%80%9Cgood light%E2%80%9D instead of %E2%80%9Cgood night,%E2%80%9D he shows up with a big smile and an armful of lamps. One senses that when it is all over and Crunch goes to sleep, the narrator will do so, too. Ages 3%E2%80%937. Agent for author and illustrator: Steven Malk, Writers House. (May)