cover image Dinosaur Dinner with a Slice of Alligator Pie

Dinosaur Dinner with a Slice of Alligator Pie

Dennis Lee. Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers, $17 (30pp) ISBN 978-0-679-87009-8

Watchers of TV's Fraggle Rock and Barney already know Lee's (Alligator Pie; Jelly Belly) lively lyrics. This zesty miscellany offers many a silly ode on food, mud, bugs and the author's homeland (""Taller than the CN Tower,/ Bigger than Quebec:/ Don't fool around with/ Torontosaurus Rex!""). From the insults of ""Georgie, Georgie,/ Wash your face,/ Or we'll kick you out/ Of the human race"" to the squirm-inducing ""Pizza, pickle,/ Pumpernickel,/ My little guy/ Shall have a tickle,"" a good-natured tone predominates. There's a Shel Silverstein-like bounce to the rhythms and unerring meter, but Lee lacks Silverstein's dark edginess; even the monster of ""I Eat Kids Yum Yum!"" is no match for an equally hungry girl. The choice of illustrator is inspired: Tilley's (Riddle-icious, see p. 77) watercolors of playground antics and dinosaur-like green lizards bring out the poems' mischievousness and bratty verve. Not all of the entries are puckish, however: among the finest poems is the lullaby ""Silvery,"" which ends the collection on a lyrical note (""Silverly/ Silverly,/ Over the/ Trees/ The moon drifts/ By on a/ Runaway/ Breeze""). Ages 4-8. (Mar.)