In the latest Elephant & Piggie Like Reading! title, a troupe of dinosaurs confronts an existential quandary.
“Dinosaurs do not scratch” reads the legend on a rock behind a napping tortoise. A bespectacled dino in T-shirt and shorts muses, “You learn something new every day.” It observes a triceratops about to scratch a scab and stops it: “Dinosaurs are TOUGH! We do not scratch!” It similarly corrects a pterodactyl with a bee sting, a sauropod with an itchy back, and a T. Rex with an irritating tag in the collar of its shirt. Demonstrating its toughness, it submits to various itch-producing indignities, including a wool sweater, “hair from my last haircut,” and a cat, and despite obviously mounting distress does not scratch. At this point, the tortoise gets up and moves away, revealing a concluding “alone” etched in the rock. Naturally, all the discussion of itching and not scratching has caused everyone to feel “ITCHY!”; happily, these dinosaurs are not alone, so they indulge in a massive orgy of scratching, the relief it brings signaled with cool blues that replace the itchy reds that had predominated. The silly premise and equally silly treatment are carried out in the series’ signature format, color-coded speech bubbles providing cues to both speakers and mood. The question of “why dinosaurs do not scratch alone” is never answered, but that’s hardly the point.
Guaranteed to get readers giggling (and scratching). (Early reader. 5-9)