cover image Your Pet Dinosaur: An Owner's Manual

Your Pet Dinosaur: An Owner's Manual

Hudson Talbott. Morrow Junior Books, $16 (39pp) ISBN 978-0-688-11337-7

Ostensibly authored by Dr. Rex, the preternaturally brainy, self-absorbed tyrannosaurus of Talbott's Going Hollywood: A Dinosaur's Dream, this handbook is the surreal equivalent to ``Know Your Parakeet.'' Rex, with a cheesy politician's grin, tells prospective dino-buyers how to select their ideal ``pup.'' His sensible advice on young dinos (``A reinforced concrete feeding pen . . . is recommended''), training (``Housebreaking often lives up to its name'') and breeds (``bite-sized,'' ``two-seaters and four-seaters'') is accompanied by dexterously drawn images of preppie families romping with their pets in immaculate suburban settings. A boy contentedly naps on the back of his Christmas present--a horrific, wild-eyed megalosaurus; a gigantic carnivore ignores its scolding owner as it attacks the neighbors' vegetarian beast. While this mock manual's corniness and deadpan delivery are frequently funny, its occasionally precious humor begins to pale--and often seems overly sophisticated for most youngsters. Also, the less detailed portraits of look-alike pets and owners are conspicuously cute and not nearly as comical as their bizarre counterparts. Not up to Rex's earlier outings. Ages 7-up. (Sept.)