This dino with a penchant for greenery means well, but his tale is clearly hampered by its confusing message.
If you want to know anything about dinosaurs, then the kid to talk to is Ruth Ann MacKenzie. A whiz at everything related to residents of the Cretaceous, she visits a mysterious new museum exhibit that plants her firmly in the past and within the protective sphere of Linus, a polite, blue T-Rex who wouldn’t dream of eating meat. After watching him munch on plants and pal about with every creature he meets, Ruth Ann decides to set the sweet guy straight. Fortunately, her misguided attempts are interrupted by two hungry velociraptors who are put in their place by a clearly ferocious Linus. Conclusion? “I’m just me—a very big, very brave, very VEGETARIAN Tyrannosaurus rex!” Children may have a hard time determining what lesson they are to take from this. Are they meant to learn that vegetarianism doesn’t make you a wimp? Or that it will win them hordes of adoring friends and fans? Or just not to make assumptions? (Kids like Ruth Ann will note Linus’ many pointy teeth and wonder how he’s going to negotiate that carrot….) Where the story falters, the art leaps and soars. From the many-colored eyes of the iguanodons to the velociraptors hidden on almost every page, the book is a visual treat.
Though they may have fun with it, readers’ attempts to sink their teeth into this story will find them gummed up with uncertain conclusions. (Picture book. 3-7)