cover image Buster Gets Braces

Buster Gets Braces

Jane Breskin Zalben. Henry Holt & Company, $15.95 (1pp) ISBN 978-0-8050-1682-6

Poor Buster. Just weeks before this dinosaur's birthday, Dr. Orville (graduate of Cretaceous University) announces that ``Buster needs braces.'' His orthodontia also brings on jeers from his kid sister and, worse still, makes it impossible for the growing behemoth to consume his favorite foods. Though Zalben's ( Beni's First Chanukah ; Happy Passover, Rosie ) subject matter seems of dubious relevance to the picture-book set--who won't be needing braces for a few more years--her ingenuous, somewhat slight story possesses sufficient kid appeal to surmount this shortcoming. Enlivened by the engagingly childlike narration of Buster's sister Sally, the tale contains some comical touches that will be over little ones' heads--a vintage diner named Stanley's Rib Joint has an all-you-can-eat night; a drawing of Grandma's house resembles a monument at Stonehenge. Zalben's busy, pastel-hued illustrations make the most of the incongruities between the Stone Age and the age of rock: the sight of this prehistoric brood duded up in the latest funky togs will surely provoke giggles. A daffy dino family lightens a potentially problematic topic. Ages 4-7. (Apr.)