cover image When Dinosaurs Came with Everything

When Dinosaurs Came with Everything

Elise Broach, , illus. by David Small. . S&S/Atheneum, $16.99 (40pp) ISBN 978-0-689-86922-8

Broach (Shakespeare's Secret ) and Caldecott Medalist Small's (So You Want to Be President? ) deadpan delivery of a delectably over-the-top premise makes this tall-format picture book a virtually guaranteed crowd-pleaser. At the bakery with his mother, the freckle-faced narrator spies an odd sign above the doughnut case: “Buy a Dozen Get a Dinosaur.” They make the purchase, expecting a toy, but the bakery lady trots out a triceratops. When the boy's flummoxed mother cries, “How are we supposed to get that home?” the proprietor responds with a sardonic smile, “Oh, don't worry, he'll follow you. They always do.” After his doctor's appointment, the boy asks for a sticker, but the nurse announces that there are no stickers today, “just dinosaurs,” and the receptionist presents him with a stegosaurus. His mother prudently refuses to stop at the shoe store, movie theater and diner, but the boy picks up a pterosaur at the barber shop and uses a doughnut to lure home a hadrosaur (“It wasn't my fault” he disingenuously tells readers). Beleaguered by prehistoric pets, Mom comes up with a brilliant solution. Small fuels his watercolor-and-ink art with just the right dose of hyperbole, comically relaying the boy's elation and the mother's distress at the expanding menagerie. This well-balanced romp packs an outsize helping of humor. Ages 3-7. (Sept .)