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Nosy, a newly hatched pterodactyl, emerges from his shell peppering his mother with questions. From her answers he quickly learns a number of big words about himself: nidifugous, pterodactyl, pulchritudinous, and nomenclature. And that’s just in the first four pages. His utter faith in his mother’s wisdom falters when he spies a young apatosaurus by the river, whom his mother dismisses as a “second-class creature.” (At the same time, the apatosaurus mother calls the pterodactyls “much inferior to us.”) Nosy seeks out the dino anyway, and the two eventually unite their families. Together they devise a plan to end the tyrannosaurus rex’s reign of terror and have more success than anticipated. Much of the book’s humor relies on wordplay and the juxtaposition of the clever mothers next to their dim-witted husbands. Frequent black-and-white cartoon illustrations, both inset and full page, enliven the text and add a light comic tone. Complex vocabulary and sentence structure make this book a good fit for advanced young readers or as a read-aloud. — Suzanne Harold
School Library Journal
Nosy is a young pterodactyl and Banty is a young apatosaurus. Both of their families are scornful of the other and try to instill their distain in their offspring. After all, pterodactyls are superior because they can fly. And apatosaurus are better because they have four legs and are herbivores. In spite of their parents’ objections and their obvious differences, the two young dinosaurs become friends and help unite their families in the face of a common foe–a T. rex named Hack the Ripper. The lessons about friendship, working together, and not prejudging others are not subtle, but the story is engaging and fun and readers will not mind the messages. Children are also likely to learn new words as Nosy’s mother speaks with a highly inflated vocabulary. “We are, after all aeronauts of remarkable facility and versatility.” Luckily, most of her words have to be explained/translated for the other dinosaurs. The black-and-white spot art captures the characters’ expressions and, with the exception of the T. rex, appears almost sweet. The story is a good choice for dinophiles who have moved beyond picture books and are ready for easy chapter books.–Kelly Roth, Bartow County Public Library, Cartersville, GA
Replacing his usual stock of farm animals with an older, more primitive cast, King-Smith pits families of Pterodactyls and Apatosaurs against a predatory T. rex. After ignoring the species prejudice of their parents to strike up a friendship, leather-winged newborn Nosy and hulking Banty (short for “Bantamweight,” which she is when compared to her mother and father) come up with a daring plan to drive toothy Hack the Ripper out of the area. Their intellectually pretentious Moms and dimwitted Dads are initially reluctant but eventually agree to pitch in—and it all works out even better than expected. In Bruel’s frequent cartoon scenes and vignettes, the players display a supple solidity as they smile, scowl or look confused according to their assigned roles. The unusual setting and mild suspense of this celebration of interspecies cooperation will draw in recent easy-reader graduates. The addition of multi-syllabic dinosaur names and Latinate vocabulary words add extra appeal.