In this series kickoff for dinophiles (and who isn’t one?), a Wyoming dig yields an egg that’s not exactly fossilized.
Despite having to cope with obnoxious cousin Samantha and snoopy Aaron from the adjacent cattle ranch, 9-year-old Frank is thrilled to be summering with his grandparents at their dinosaur museum and dig site. Life takes a particularly exciting turn when his paleontologist grandmother finds a stone egg on ranch land. It not only becomes a bone of contention between her and Aaron’s avaricious dad, but hatches in the night, leaving Frank and Sam scrambling to keep little “Peanut”—depicted in the frequent ink-and-wash illustrations as a puppylike hadrosaur with soulful eyes and a stubby tail—secret from the grown-ups. Ultimately, though, the creature must be driven to the vet after chowing down on snack food, and while the adults are gone on that errand, the children work out a way to share ownership. McAnulty keeps characters and situations uncomplicated, and if self-absorbed Samantha comes off as more of a liability than an asset here, perhaps she’ll have a chance to redeem herself in future episodes.
Adventures in dinosaur husbandry—a bit bland but palatable fare for younger independent readers. (glossary) (Science fantasy. 7-9)