You Can’t Be a Pterodactyl!

Penguin/Nancy Paulsen. Jul. 2023. 32p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780593110652.
PreS-Gr 2–Tommy, a fair-skinned eight-year-old, takes it literally when his teacher announces that he can be anything he wants to be when he grows up. Tommy wants to be a pterodactyl. Unfortunately, his teacher, the lunch attendant, his friends, the bus driver, and a few older kids try to squash his dream. Fortunately, he has a patient and understanding dad and a great dog. His dad asks Tommy why he wants to be a pterodactyl. After some thought, he explains that becoming a pterodactyl would let him fly above his problems; Dad suggests that he could live like a pterodactyl but still look like himself. They spend the rest of the day playing as pterodactyls. Even the dog is now sporting a dinosaur costume. Colorful and cleverly detailed illustrations move the action along to the happy ending, but the jump to successful adult Tommy is a bit jarring.
VERDICT An erratic plot makes this an additional purchase, but this gentle story will appeal to dinosaur fans with dreams of their own.

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