"It's one thing to read about dragons, and another to live with them!"-- Emelia
It's a cruel fate for a female Tyrannosaurus rex, once wild and free, to be stuck inside a natural history museum. One day, the skeletal T. Rex overhears two women talking about the nearby ballet Swan Lake, and she becomes intrigued by the idea of becoming a ballerina. Wrenching her bolted-down toes from the platform, she lumbers toward the exit, past her devoted guard, out the door, and straight to the opera house. Chaos ensues as she dons an extra-large purple tutu and swings dramatically onto the stage for her terrifying, pterodactyl-like ballet debut. But after 32 perfect pirouettes and a tremendous leap, T. Rex earns a standing ovation. Any child who has a dream but feels powerless to achieve it will cheer for T. Rex in this quirky, if somewhat rambling, flight of fancy. Demarest's fluid, sketchy line drawings splashed with watercolor comically capture the bizarre mayhem of an escaped, animated dino skeleton submerged in Swan Lake. Karin Snelson
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In the works: A middle grade fantasy: STILL LIFE, WITH DRAGONS.
From School Library Journal: Starred Review. Grade 6-9
Pirates, a runaway slave, buried treasure, and deceit and friendship are the ingredients of this gripping adventure that takes place on Virginia's eastern shore following the Revolutionary War. Motherless Molly Savage, 15, lives with her ne'er-do-well father on Savage Island. The two eke out a debtor's paltry living at the Hog's Head Tavern, now owned by domineering, abusive Mrs. Ben Pruitt since the girl's father lost it gambling. Into Molly's life comes Rafe, 14, a runaway slave from North Carolina. Favored and then spurned by his white master and father, the teen is shipwrecked on Savage Island; Molly discovers and hides him. When a British warship appears offshore and picaroon pirates launch terrorizing raids on the island in search of rumored treasure, Molly and Rafe warn the residents, save her injured father, and reveal the true identity of Mrs. Ben. Finally, the girl discovers the treasure that has eluded generations, and she helps Rafe escape toward freedom. Loaded with vivid geographic descriptions, barrier island lore, and historical detail, this fast-paced, compassionate story explores the friendship that develops between Molly and Rafe, who confront their mutual oppression and racial biases, share their hopes for a better life, and unite in their efforts to save one another. Post-Revolutionary War complexities of anti-British sentiment, pirate activity, and fugitive slave laws are smoothly woven into the story. The blend of lively dialogue, distinctive personalities, emotional conflicts, suspense, and resourceful protagonists makes this an exciting, informative, and insightful coming-of-age historical novel.–Gerry Larson, Durham School of the Arts, NC
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