cover image Lizard from the Park

Lizard from the Park

Mark Pett. Simon & Schuster, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-4424-8321-7

Curly-haired, brown-skinned Leonard finds a large egg in Central Park, takes it home, and plays with it, all with an air of quiet wonder. When a lizardlike creature busts forth from the egg, he names it—naturally—Buster. “Leonard couldn’t wait to show this new friend the world outside.” Readers will enjoy picking out New York City landmarks as Leonard shows Buster the Museum of Natural History and Monet’s water lilies, then reads to him between the paws of one of the majestic “library lions.” Buster’s fast growth signals trouble, and Leonard tries several fixes, including disguising Buster in a fedora and sunglasses. The winning solution involves many balloons and a famous parade. In the final pages, Buster is revealed as a creation of Leonard’s imagination, and the boy finds a human friend—someone who has been courting him throughout, readers will see. Sometimes, Pett (The Girl and the Bicycle) suggests, fantasy can blind us to gifts that are right in front of us. Muted colors and low-key prose give this dinosaur tale unusual restraint. Ages 4–8. Agent: Kerry Sparks, Levine Greenberg Rostan Literary Agency. (Sept.)