cover image Dinosaur for a Day

Dinosaur for a Day

Jim Murphy. Scholastic, $15.95 (1pp) ISBN 978-0-590-42866-8

With its odd, sometimes uneasy mix of fact and fiction, this story of a neatly imagined, drama-filled day of a parent Hysilophodon may disappoint eager dinosaurophiles. Though creatively presented, Murphy and Weatherby's proficient collaboration doesn't quite deliver on its title's promise. While the Hysilophodon and its brood forage, a pack of sharp-clawed Deinonychus attack. The adult leads the predatory meat-eater away from the babies and rejoins them later, in time for the family to return safely to their inland nest. The gauzy, highlighted paintings look as if they were shot in soft focus, and provide an eery, often startling ground-level view of the action. Facts weigh heavily--pages of information bookend the story; there are listings of dinosaurs mentioned and books about dinosaurs (most more suitable for adults than for children). Jarring elements such as strange stone surfaces appearing as text backdrops, along with a didactic approach, may limit the audience for this team's second dinosaur book (after The Last Dinosaur ). Ages 5-8. (Oct.)