Chickens are descended from dinosaurs, and here’s a chicken with a family photo album to prove it.
First the chuffed chicken—or “Gallus gallus domesticus” to a skeptical unseen narrator—opens the album to snapshots of “The Velociraptor Family” to point out similar feet and feathers, then goes on to more distant relatives such as the Iguanodons, the Stegosaurs (“We look a lot alike, don’t you think?”), and the Triceratops clan. Following views of a falling asteroid and other prehistoric catastrophes, the proud pullet struts off to clamber atop a huge egg…only to flee in panic when it hatches out not a “cute little Triceratops chicken” or some other safe playmate but a toothy T. Rex. In his cartoon illustrations van Genechten doesn’t try for realistic detail but captures “Mommy Loci and Daddy Rapt” rolling past on a stone-wheeled tandem bike, plasters each album leaf with droll captions (“Our first Diplodo-kiss”), and sets up the climactic visual punchline with an earlier portrait of drooling cousin Rex. The egg appears from nowhere in the story, but something very like it is visible in an endpaper gallery of marbled-paper dino eggs. Actual information is included in the form of dates (all B.C.) and (inexplicably) “tickets” scrapbooked into the pages with each dino’s weight in pounds.
Young readers who think the dinosaurs are all extinct will appreciate this truthful revelation. Well, truth-y, anyway. (Picture book. 5-7)