cover image Linus the Vegetarian T. Rex

Linus the Vegetarian T. Rex

Robert Neubecker. S&S/Beach Lane, $16.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-4169-8512-9

Neubecker’s vegetarian hero lives in the “Cretaceous Surprises” exhibit at the museum, which indeed holds surprises for a junior dinosaur expert named Ruth Ann MacKenzie. “First Linus attacked... a patch of arugula!” writes Neubecker (Time Out for Monsters!), in the first of several setups that seem to start out as examples of how prehistoric nature is red in tooth and claw, but actually illustrate what a sweetie Linus is (“It’s lovely to see you, Linus,” says Ellen, a mother triceratops that Ruth Ann was certain would become Linus’s dinner). Did Linus not get the memo? This tale of a dinosaur who munches to a different drummer radiates Neubecker’s customary energy and compositional inventiveness, but it isn’t quite up to his best work—the jokes about Linus being a softie are little too soft, Ruth Ann and Linus are genial but not particularly original personalities, and the ending runs out of steam. Still, the Neubecker touch is hard to resist, and the visual tastiness of these pages compensates for the slight story. Ages 3–7. Agent: Linda Pratt, Wernick & Pratt. (July)