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Ride a Pale Horse
Helen MacInnes
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Laura Joh Rowland
All Aboard the Dinotrain - Deb Lund, Howard Fine I imagine there are probably a lot of little kids out there who would love this book. The pictures are bright and vivid, the dinosaurs are engagingly drawn (a brontosaurus in conductor garb!), and come on, it's dinosaurs *and* trains! What's not to love?!

But, we didn't love it, and I sort of feel bad about that, because I feel like we should have. My nephew had a lot of trouble interpreting what was going on in the story. At his age he does a lot of interpreting by looking at the pictures, and I guess he couldn't piece together the backbone of the story from those. He started with the basics, "why are the dinosaurs on a train?" (good to know the premise of a story, after all), and he kept coming back to that throughout the story. Unfortunately, I don't really know why these dinos were on a train--that was a little ambiguous. Just for an adventure, I guess.

My niece seemed to have a little trouble understanding the verse, and I think that this may be due to too much cutesy playing with the word "dino" in the text. Lots of words were blended with the word dino (e.g., dinoshout, dinochugs, dinotime, dinoduck), and that became really distracting and cumbersome at times.

Most kids would probably think this was a great book, and anyone with little kids who think that dinosaurs and trains are cool should consider checking it out. I really wish that we had enjoyed this book more, but there's just no pleasing some people. :-)