Dotlich’s text makes good use of assonance and internal rhymes to support new readers’ decoding skills in this story about a dinosaur who needs to clean up his bedroom before he can go outside to play ball.
Momasaur is displeased with the state of Digger’s room, and when he asks if he can go play ball with his friend, Stego, she replies sternly, “No….Your room is a mess.” Digger mistakes the word “mess” for “yes,” but Stego corrects him, and in a spirit of friendly generosity, offers to help him clean up. Digger continues to fail to attend carefully to others’ words as he confuses Stego’s helpful directions, mishearing “hook” as “book” and “bones” as “stones.” Then Stego becomes distracted and mistakes Momasaur’s final direction to put “hats” away as putting “cats” away. Digger catches the mistake as the poor cats meow from within an armoire, and then they quickly free them and tidy up the hats before going outside to play ball. Cartoonish illustrations seem like they’d be right at home in an animator’s studio, though background detail is a bit overdone and potentially distracting in a book with such a well-controlled text.
A strong new series for brand-new readers. (Early reader. 4-6)