by Fiona Watt and Rachel Wells
That's Not My Dinosaur is an early result of the creative partnership between Watt and Wells that would produce such seminal collaborations as That's Not My Digger and That's Not My Bear, and which many critics feel reached its zenith with 2007's Richard & Judy Galaxy British Book Award-winning masterpiece, That's Not My Penguin.
From the very first page, the reader's expectations are wrong-footed as an unnamed first-person narrator guides us through a delirious, kaleidoscopic rollercoaster ride of Dinosaurs That Are Not My Dinosaur. We are kept guessing right up to the very last page, where events reach a satisfying if slightly predictable conclusion as we meet (SPOILER warning) a Dinosaur That IS my Dinosaur. (It's Spines are So Soft.)
That's Not My Dinosaur is the work of two authors still finding their voices, testing the limits of the form of which they would in time become the undisputed masters. The storyline and cast of characters feel slightly bland when compared to some of their later works; who could forget the ambiguous sexuality and roguish charisma of That's Not My Pirate's Pirate who is Not My Pirate, His Cutlass Is Too Glittery? Or the sheer emotional sucker-punch of the ending of That's Not My Robot? ("It's Antennae Are So Sparkly" will surely be remembered as one of the most haunting closing lines in modern British literature.)
Furthermore, That's Not My Dinosaur flirts with some radical and highly unconventional scientific theories of which some may question the appropriateness in a book intended for children. Admittedly the fossil record from the Cretaceous is highly incomplete and scattered, and due to the processes of taphonomy and fossilization questions such as dinosaur skin colouration and texture will always involve a high degree of speculation. However, to postulate the existence of what is apparently an ankylosaurid whose "Tail is Too Fuzzy" strays so far from palaeontological orthodoxy as to undermine the credibility of the work as a whole.
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