cover image Dinos Are Forever

Dinos Are Forever

Greg Trine, illus. by Frank W. Dormer. Harcourt, $12.99 (112p) ISBN 978-0-547-76341-5

Trine (the Melvin Beederman, Superhero books) introduces a new caped crusader in the launch of the Adventures of Jo Schmo chapter-book series. When fourth-grader Jo receives a cape in the mail from her superhero uncle, she accepts the challenge to follow in his footsteps. The cape (cut in half to share with Jo’s dog, Raymond) gives both Jo and her canine sidekick newfound powers (his mainly involve overactive drooling). Trine invokes many superhero conventions throughout: mad scientist Dr. Dastardly has an evil “Mwah-ha-ha” laugh, and, like Batman, Jo gets a sweet ride (her Schmomobile is a turbocharged version of her skateboard). She even has a Kryptonite-like vulnerability—her three schoolmate crushes: “This was a distraction she didn’t need. Bank robbers were committing crimes and needed to be caught.” (It’s not math class, but Trine might have reached for a less stereotypical weakness.) Jo’s successes come too easily for the narrative to develop any real tension, but Trine’s offbeat brand of humor (Dr. Dastardly’s master plan involves reanimating dinosaur skeletons) and Dormer’s angular, childlike illustrations generally hit the mark. Ages 6–9. Agent: Caryn Wiseman, Andrea Brown Literary Agency. (July)