What would you do with a dinosaur?
Young Marianne would share wondrous nighttime adventures. First, she’d dig up a dinosaur on a beach, assemble its bones, and wish it alive. She does so in this rhyming picture book while “fisherfolk” worry about her. For some adults, this “Marianne” who discovers a seaside dinosaur might conjure Mary Anning, the 19th-century English paleontologist. Like that scientist, the protagonist diligently arranges bones until her fossils take shape. Unlike Anning, Marianne names her discovery Bony, fervently wishing it to spring to life. The book then soars into the dream world; readers probably won’t notice or mind the disconnect. Bony, a smiling, green-scaled apatosaurus look-alike, swims and flies with Marianne into magical lands where they meet fanciful beings and discover a “magical moonlit island” filled with diverse children and their fantasy dinos. (Marianne presents white.) Since all this happens before these children go to sleep, what will they possibly dream about after? The ending finds the story back at the beach, the residents now unconcerned, and the kids digging for dinosaurs—and holding fast to their nighttime secrets. The verses in this cheerful dreamscape mostly read and scan rhythmically, but some are clunky. The scribbly illustrations, dominated by pale greens, teals, and sandy yellow and punctuated by Marianne’s red mop, are lively and atmospheric. Kids will appreciate the silver-foil patches on the book cover’s round moon.
Dreamy dinosaur doings. (Picture book. 3-6)