cover image The Dinosaur Tamer

The Dinosaur Tamer

Carol Greathouse, , illus. by John Shroades. . Dutton, $16.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-525-47866-9

Greathouse and Shroades's rollicking debut, set “back when the old, old West was still as green as a bristlecone pine and cowboys were as common as warts on a Stegosaurus ,” introduces pint-sized cowboy Rocky who “teethed on a Deinonychus femur and used an Ankylosaurus tail as a rattle” and specializes in taming dinos of all sizes. Though the book is full of delightful hyperbole and outlandish claims, both author and artist sprinkle it with authentic dinosaur names and features; Shroades uses a palette of fantastical colors for his dinos, as when Rocky ropes a purple and blue stegosaurus “at ninety paces while wearin' a blindfold and eatin' a prickly pear.” But trouble surfaces with the arrival of T. Rex—the “rip-roarin'est, snip-snortin'est reptilian that ever did stomp the earth.” The artist wisely maintains T. Rex's slightly menacing and mischievous expression throughout, even when the tamed beast becomes “as docile as a fresh-hatched platypus pup.” Greathouse's humorous tall tale language never falters, and readers will relish cinematic scenes of Rocky and T. Rex tussling, creating several American landmarks in the process. Ages 4–8. (Oct.)