cover image ZOOM!


Diane Adams, , illus. by Kevin Luthardt. . Peachtree, $15.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-1-56145-332-0

It takes a dinosaur-themed roller coaster to show a kid that he has the right stuff. After passing muster with the "You must be this tall" sign, the young hero climbs aboard—albeit more reluctantly than his eager dad (who, in typical goofy dad fashion, is wearing socks with his sandals). In Luthardt's (Larabee ) paintings, however, the duo undergoes a mien switch after the coaster's first big drop. For the text, "Sailing at the speed of sound./ Zooming, racing toward the ground," Dad gets an "anywhere but here" look on his face, while his son responds with the wide grins and arms-over-head posture of an aficionado. Newcomer Adams's story unspools in singsongy couplets with plenty of heavy-duty action words ("Lurching, tilting up again./ Jerking, rumbling round the bend"). Luthardt doesn't offer the kind of visceral thrills to be found in Marla Frazee's recent Roller Coaster , but his amusement-park palette and boldly geometric acrylics pop with energy, and he's particularly good at capturing the swooping black track. The ending is predictable, but it's a triumph that youngsters won't mind reliving several times over. Ages 2-6. (Mar.)