cover image Princess Dinosaur

Princess Dinosaur

Jill Kastner. Greenwillow Books, $15.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-688-17045-5

With a crown perched on her head and a billowing skirt hiked up to just below her belly button, the neon green title character of Kastner's (Barnyard Big Top) quirky caper cuts quite the droll figure. The antics of this animated toy dino and her toy-chest compatriots lend themselves to some diverting visual scenarios. While playing with cowboy and Indian figurines, she ""accidentally takes a bite out of Cowboy Gus's hat. Blue Feather's bow is bent, too""; during a tea party with a doll properly attired in a straw hat, the heroine prefers to tip the teapot into her enormous mouth rather than drink from a teacup. But the fun ends with the arrival of the family dog (""Run for the toy box""). Kastner shows the dino helping everyone else to safety before the canine snatches her in his mouth and buries her outside (only the hem of her red skirt, her feet and tail are visible). In a feminist denouement, the raptor toy digs her own way out (""Luckily, Princess Dinosaur has long, sharp, pointy claws""), grabs onto the pooch's tail and eventually makes it back home again, where the other toy-box inhabitants welcome her. Rendered in watercolor and pen-and-ink, Kastner's illustrations depict the heroine with a range of funny facial expressions and exploit the scenario's comic potential. Ages 5-up. (Apr.)