cover image Dinosaur Kisses

Dinosaur Kisses

David Ezra Stein. Candlewick, $15.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-7636-6104-5

Chomp! Stomp! Whomp! Dinah is a wide-eyed, speckled baby dinosaur who wants to try everything, but finesse is not her strong point. She has stubby legs, an eager smile, and a matchless set of jaws. When two tiny creatures kiss each other at Dinah’s feet, Dinah wants to try, too. Her first victim gets a bite on the rear, the next one is flattened by her big dinosaur stompers, and the third gets... eaten. “Whoops,” says Dinah. “Not good.” Only when another baby dinosaur appears does Dinah find a playmate whose life she won’t endanger. “What’s kiss?” the other dinosaur asks, and the two explore affection—rather violently. Stein (Ol’ Mama Squirrel) draws Dinah with a simple, cookie-cutter outline, but her stricken expressions and forthright pursuit of love are plenty complex. Dinah’s swampy world features a sulfurous yellow sky and pint-size volcanoes that explode quietly in the distance. Kids will plunge into the whomping and chomping with glee, and they’ll understand a hero who means to be careful, but who ends up stomping all over things anyway. Ages 2–5. Agent: Rebecca Sherman, Writers House. (Aug.)