What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that there's nothing objectionable here. The story has the clarity and concision of a news broadcast, with the same riveting tone, and the artwork couldn't be more softhearted and engaging. The language is enjoyably formal, with wit that acknowledges both adult and child audiences.
What's the story?
Wealthy, free-thinking sophisticates Dr. and Mrs. Lazardo, their children, and Jumbu, their bodyguard-cum-manservant, are on safari in Africa when Scotty, the son, returns to camp with a great green brontosaurus. \"He looks kind of like my Uncle Bob,\" said Mrs. Lazardo. So Bob it is, and after first sailing him down the Nile, they take him home with them.
In what looks like Roaring Twenties Pimlico Hills, Bob is a hit: He plays a swinging trumpet and has a hot glove on the baseball field. But he gets into a little trouble when he joins some neighborhood dogs chasing cars, and the chief of police orders him returned to Africa. The Lazardos spring Bob that night, however, and hide him until he can redeem himself by knocking in the winning run for the hapless Pimlico Pirates. The Pirates get their first victory ever, and Bob gets to stay.
Is it any good?
The Lazardos live in that wonderful world where anything is possible, where generosity and curiosity are bywords. Nothing throws them off balance -- not even a dinosaur. It is also a world of sophistication -- not just in wealth and worldliness but also in the level of humor. Dr. and Mrs. Lazardo are smooth to a fault (William Joyce acknowledges that they are drawn from Dashiell Hammett's Nick and Nora Charles), and their suavity will likely fly right over most kids' heads.
They are also swashbucklers, though, and that is where older children may find a toehold. Joyce's artwork is sophisticated as well, a very handsome and richly evocative Art Deco style, but its broad humor is immediately accessible. Dinosaur Bob is a presence, vast and green, and a real sport.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about the silly premise. What would it be like to have a dinosaur as a pet? What else, besides baseball, would they be good at? What weird pet would you like to have?