A populous but not overcrowded gallery, with opportunities aplenty to practice those polysyllabic monikers.

READ REVIEW

MY VERY FIRST DINOSAURS BOOK

From the My Very First series

Dozens of dinosaurs and their contemporary cousins pose picturesquely in this expansive introduction for budding dinophiles.

Formatted for durability on large cardstock leaves with rounded corners, each prehistoric scene features a throng of variously sized creatures—nearly all depicted in full body portraits—with labels and informative comments interspersed. In his virtually gore-free cartoon illustrations, Cosgrove tends to endow dinos with smiles and googly eyes, but the colorful figures are otherwise realistically shaped and equipped (the predators, anyway) with properly serrated dentifrices. Along with carefully noting which creatures are not true dinosaurs, Frith points out significant anatomical features (“Concavenators had big humps on their backs. Some could grow long feathers on their arms, too, for extra showing off”), explains scenarios, and on one memorable page translates the names of seven T. Rex relatives such as “Tarbasaurus (Alarming dinosaur)” and “Teratophoneus (Murderous monster).” The spreads are topical rather than chronological, so dinos of different eras mix, but a closing timeline that leaves modern birds looking back quizzically at 180 million years of ancestors offers a sequential overview.

A populous but not overcrowded gallery, with opportunities aplenty to practice those polysyllabic monikers. (Informational picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-7945-3660-2

Page Count: 16

Publisher: Usborne

Review Posted Online: Nov. 3, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2015

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Well-trodden dino turf, but the grass is still fairly green.

IF YOU HAPPEN TO HAVE A DINOSAUR

A tongue-in-cheek look at some of the many ways that idle household dinosaurs can be put to work.

Jack casts a host of cartoon dinosaurs—most of them humongous, nearly all smiling and candy bright of hue—in roles as can openers, potato mashers, yard sweepers, umbrellas on rainy days, snowplows, garbage collectors, and like helpers or labor savers. Even babysitters, though, as Bailey aptly notes, “not all dinosaurs are suited to this work.” Still, “[t]he possibilities are amazing!” And even if there aren’t any handy dinos around, she concludes, any live-in octopus, sasquatch, kangaroo or other creature can be likewise exploited. A bespectacled, woolly-haired boy who looks rather a lot like Weird Al Yankovic serves as dino-wrangler in chief, heading up a multiethnic cast of kids who enjoy the dinosaurs’ services. As with all books of this ilk, the humor depends on subtextual visual irony. A group of kids happily flying pterosaur kites sets up a gag featuring a little boy holding a limp string tied to the tail of a grumpy-looking stegosaurus. Changes on this premise have been run over and over since Bernard Most’s If the Dinosaurs Came Back (1978), and though this iteration doesn’t have any fresh twists to offer, at least it’s bright and breezy enough to ward off staleness.

Well-trodden dino turf, but the grass is still fairly green. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: May 13, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-77049-568-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Tundra

Review Posted Online: March 31, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2014

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A cozy bit of new-family making—perhaps better not taken too literally.

REX

Single parenting, T. Rex style.

Huge, roaring, toothy T. Rex beds down for the night in a handy empty cave—and wakes with a tiny hatchling theropod staring up at him adoringly: “Dada!” Bellowing, “You’re no Rex!” the discomfited dino lumbers off for a daily round of smashing rocks, uprooting trees, and scaring “every saurus” he sees. But Little Rex trots along and soon is pounding boulders and tearing out (small) trees of his own in imitation. Bonding ensues…and survives big Rex’s frank admission that he’s not Little Rex’s real father. “I hope I’m as terrifying as you when I grow up, Dad.” “I’ll make sure of it,” replies big Rex. “That’s what dads are for!” James never troubles to explain how Little Rex, or more precisely his egg, came to be left in the cave; evidently family arrangements “once upon about 65 million years ago” were fairly casual. Anyway, in splashy, melodramatic cartoon scenes featuring a variety of wide-eyed dinosaurs against a backdrop of erupting volcanoes, James exaggerates the size differential between the two rexes to comical effect, endows Little Rex with a cute overbite, and closes with shared smiles.

A cozy bit of new-family making—perhaps better not taken too literally. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: July 12, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-7636-7294-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: March 16, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2016

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