cover image Tyrannosaurus Was a Beast: Dinosaur Poems

Tyrannosaurus Was a Beast: Dinosaur Poems

Jack Prelutsky. Greenwillow Books, $16 (31pp) ISBN 978-0-688-06442-6

Fourteen gangly dinosaurs parade through this cheerful new book of light verse. In the final work of Lobel's distinguished career, his winning drawings are accurate without being frightening, and Prelutsky's verse ( Ride a Purple Pelican and The New Kid on the Block ) is rhythmical and funny. Scientific information is filtered through the clever stanzas, and each drawing is accompanied by a pronunciation guide. Most poems contain references to the habits of the creatures described; e.g., ``Stegosaurus was a creature uncontentious and benign,/ and the row of armored plates upon its back/ failed to guard its tender belly or protect its flimsy spine.'' But humor abounds: ``How fortunate then,'' Prelutsky says of the deinonychus who stuffed monsters ``inside of its belly,'' that the creature is ``no longer here/ to eat us like cream cheese and jelly.'' A combination of insight and funny business, further jollied by the illustrations, makes this book irresistible. Ages 4-up. (August)