cover image How I Captured a Dinosaur

How I Captured a Dinosaur

Henry Schwartz. Orchard Books (NY), $14.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-531-05770-4

Eight-year-old Liz, enamored of dinosaurs and apprised of rumors of odd creatures in Baja, Calif., keeps a sharp eye out when her family takes a camping trip there. She discovers large footprints and, with the aid of leftover hamburgers, eventually lures a large dinosaur back to the campsite. Once her parents regain their composure, they agree that she can keep the dinosaur as a pet; and so Albertosaurus (or ``Albert'') is transported, via a rented flatbed truck, home, where he proves a hit with the neighbors. Schwartz's pictures of the intrepid Liz and her genial, outsized new pet are engaging and funny, and the illustrations are filled with whimsical details. Particularly effective are those depicting Albert incongruously against the backdrop of L.A.'s skyscrapers and palm-lined freeways. But the story is an inadequate vehicle for the art: tame and controlled to the end, it never truly exercises the fancy or adventure for which its subject begs. A Richard Jackson Book. Ages 4-7. (Mar.)