Lisa Wheeler. Carolrhoda Books, $16.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-8225-6191-0
Meat-Eaters and Veggiesaurs face off in this lighthearted but slim tale starring a sizeable roster of hockey-playing dinosaurs. Wheeler (Mammoths on the Move) presents a quick-fire play-by-play using exclamation point-studded rhymed couplets, albeit with mixed results. Much of the verse is action-driven and ably reflects the high-stakes, high-speed nature of the game (""Tricera slips. He spins. He reels!/ Watch out-check! And Raptor steals!""). Yet other passages are bland or static (""The score is tied now, 1 to 1./ The winner could be anyone""). And on some occasions, the author seems hard-pressed to pull off the rhyme: ""Another face off. Veggies rule!/ Allosaurus starts to drool."" Gott (What Do Teachers Do After You Leave School?) comically conveys the on-ice antics and competitive spirit among a wide array of prehistoric players with combative, bug-eyed expressions, and he wisely changes up the perspective for the viewing audiences at home, though a drab palette mutes the action somewhat. After some brawls and penalties along the way, the Veggiesaurs win the championship, ending the season. (Readers, however, are invited to stay tuned: ""Buy your tickets! Don't delay./ Dino-Soccer starts today!"" Though diehard dino or sports fans may be enticed by the prospect of another contest, others are more likely to pass. Ages 4-9.
Reviewed on: 10/01/2007