Dinosaurs behaving badly
The team that brought us How Do Dinosaurs Say Good Night? is back with a sickbed corollary that goes down as easily as a good laugh. Both dinosaur books are essentially didactic: backhanded primers indicating, by bad example, the way children ought to behave. But because the dinosaurs depicted are such monstrous miscreants, kids get to exult vicariously in their capers while absorbing useful pointers.
The new book is peppered with leading questions. "What if a dinosaur catches the flu? / Does he whimper and whine in between each Atchoo? / Does he drop dirty tissues all over the floor? / Does he fling all his medicine out of the door?" Read-along audiences will eagerly provide the correct answers: a resounding "No!" accompanied by the occasional "Ewww." Ten successive dinosaurs-as-children (each one gets a spread, with its name emblazoned somewhere in the scene) tackle such touchy issues as throwing up, visiting the doctor, "opening wide" and getting the necessary rest.
Teague's illustrations expand on the ingenious conceit begun in the first book of otherwise ordinary households in which the resident "child" happens to be a gigantic dino. The scenario leads to such visions as a rattle-tailed Euoplocephalus irritably tossing off his covers and a mom trying in vain to drag her balky Styracosaurus in to see "the doc." The real miracle is how much human expression Teague manages to eke out in his portrayals of these put-upon invalids. Bleary-eyed, bored, self-dramatizing, scared, obstinate, sneaky (that's a Tuojiangosaurus trying to hide behind a magazine in the clinic waiting room), greedy (at the prospect of a lollipop) and cozy (tucked at last in bed), these dinos run through the gamut of sickly emotions. Little listeners, some of whom may themselves be bed-bound, get to empathize and enjoy the fun.