Two armored dinosaurs square off against a hungry T. Rex in this quick but unusually immersive prehistoric episode.
Even by current high standards, the full-spread art is uncommonly photorealistic—featuring Cretaceous creatures on which every lump, scale, feather and wrinkle is sharply defined and woodsy settings in which nearly every leaf, frond and tuft of moss can be picked out. The plot, in which a young ankylosaur is rebuffed by an injured older one but then returns to help out when a slavering (see the drool) tyrannosaur attacks, is no great shakes, but who cares? The main event is definitely the close-up views of craggy dino faces and the T. Rex’s massive, shiny, pointed dentifrice. No blood or wounds are visible, and the figures seem frozen in tableaus, but Loxton and co-illustrator Smith choose close-up angles that evoke both the massive size of the contenders and the drama of their encounter effectively.
For a series dubbed Tales of Prehistoric Life, this kickoff doesn’t offer much of a story, but it’s a memorable showcase for a new dino-artist team. (afterword) (Picture book. 6-9)