From the Brontësaurus Sisters to Mark Twainceratops (“Born Samuel ‘Three-Horn’ Clemens”), a canon-expanding gallery of great writers that will have every reader, dinophile or not, roaring.
For this first in a projected series, Lacey pairs profiles of six renowned white human authors with as many mostly green but similarly named and (to younger audiences, at least) ancient creators of “dinosaur dramas, prehistoric poems, and timeless fossils of fiction.” For both sets she offers cogent comments on their lives and art—“Having invented over 1,578 grunts, growls, and snorts, Shakespeareasaurus’ talent for wordplay is unequaled”—plus, in small, attached booklets, a hilariously condensed representative work for each. “ROMEO: But soft! There squats my fairest maiden! / See how she slumps her cheek upon her claw?” Following each reptilian profile is a double-page spread that presents its corresponding human. Isik missteps in casting both Catherine and Heathcliff as theropods despite clear indications in the narrative that she’s a brontosaurus and he a velociraptor. Aside from this, her cartoon portraits of popeyed authors and characters in, mostly, antique dress add appropriate notes of anti-gravitas. Whether or not some of the riffs pass over their heads, readers will come away with a fund of names, titles, and general expectations that will serve them well in future encounters with literary works that have, or perhaps will, “echo[ed] across the millennia.”
A natural lead-in, or better, lagniappe, to Kathleen Krull’s Lives of the Writers (1994, illustrated by Kathryn Hewitt). (Informational novelty. 9-11)