cover image The Most Amazing Dinosaur

The Most Amazing Dinosaur

James Stevenson. Greenwillow Books, $15.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-688-16432-4

Stevenson (the Mud Flat books) is at the top of his form in this wry, whimsical story. Wilfred the rat pedals into town one night without a place to say, and ends up taking refuge in a huge stone building that turns out to be a natural history museum. Meeting a quartet of live animals amid the dinosaur skeletons, stuffed elephants and apes and so on, Wilfred learns to raid the cafeteria, play hide-and-seek among the exhibits and avoid Mr. Thrawl, the head of the museum. But on his second night, Wilfred and his new friends accidentally collapse a dinosaur skeleton. Mr. Thrawl panics, because ""inspectors"" are due the following day. By the time they arrive, the dinosaur skeleton is again intact and, much to the inspectors' delight, it is balancing gracefully on one leg, leading them to proclaim the museum ""the best they had ever inspected."" Cleverly, the author leaves gaps for kids to fill in: they don't see Wilfred and pals reassembling the toppled bones, but they have had an earlier peek at a dinosaur skeleton that one of the characters has built from ice cream sticks. Depicting the amusing antics of his animal cast, Stevenson's watercolor and black pen pictures are every bit as animated as his text. Pure fun, all the way. Ages 5-up. (May)