Kastner, Jill. Princess Dinosaur. Illustrated by Jill Kastner. Greenwillow, 2001. ISBN 0060287403. $15.95. 32 pp. B PreS-2 PB Reviewed by Donna Cardon Princess Dinosaur likes to play with the other toys in the bedroom. She ambushes Cowboy Tex and has a tea party with the doll, Batina Esmerelda Louise. She takes all the toys on a train ride and reads them a story. When Spot, the dog, suddenly bounds into the room, Princess Dinosaur helps the other toys escape to the safety of the toy box but is then captured. Spot takes her out into the yard and buries her. Luckily, she is able to dig herself out. As she emerges, she meets a squirrel, and soon Spot is chasing both of them. When Spot leaves to eat dinner, Princess Dinosaur sneaks past him into the arms of her toy friends. Kastner has illustrated books by some of children’s literature’s great writers, such as Cynthia Rylant and Will Hobbs. In Princess Dinosaur, the illustrations carry the story. The characters, drawn with watercolor and ink, have a lot of personality. It is refreshing that the “princess” is neither beautiful nor genteel, but rather is brave, resourceful, and very likeable. The contrasting color schemes and bold pen strokes make the toys come alive. The minimal text uses simple sentence structure and vocabulary. Princess Dinosaur is an entertaining read-aloud, but can also be a good challenge for beginning readers.
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