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My Dearest Dinosaur
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The text of this uncommon picture book is composed of notes from a mother dinosaur to her husband, who is off searching for food for the family. Though the premise appears farfetched at first, sweetness and warmth prevail as this nurturing dino describes her new babies and their day by day existence. Their prehistoric routine is not without difficulties--the offspring called The Cheeky One seems bound to get into trouble as she seeks adventure; the mother herself has a troubling dream when ``everything was dark'' (perhaps a premonition of extinction). In the end, we never know if the father returns, but there remains a hope that he has survived and that the dinosaur partners will reunite. The mix of realism and fantasy in Rawlins's vibrant, dramatic artwork nicely matches the book's tone--itself a stylistic blend. Kids will be satisfied with appropriately fierce images of dinosaur life in this ultimately poignant story. Ages 4-7. (Sept.)

PreS-Gr 2-- When a Parasaurolophus loses her mate, she resolves to find him again, but her newly hatched babies come first. She must protect them from predators, teach them to find food, and help them to grow up. One of her youngsters, ``the Cheeky One,'' tries her mother's patience with such bold moves as befriending a baby carnivore. The illustrations, executed in bold, luminous shades of browns and greens, reflect the prehistoric world, which is full of beauty, and sometimes menace. The story is told through the mother dinosaur's thoughts, which seem at times both too maudlin and too adult. The ending is a bit off too: the baby dinosaurs have flown the coop, leaving their mother alone once again, to resume her search for her mate. It's not a reassuring finale for young children. --Cathryn A. Camper, Minneapolis Public Library

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