Delightful and fun!

Penguins aren’t mammoths!

When a diverse threesome of researchers and a small, tan-skinned child set out to see penguins in the Antarctic, the child has other ideas: “But I’m going to see a MAMMOTH.” Venturing out alone, the protagonist stumbles across…a mammoth skateboarding! But mammoths are extinct, says one of the researchers. And when they were alive, they weren’t found in the Antarctic. Perhaps the child really saw a penguin? But this only makes the protagonist more determined to prove themself right. Again and again it happens, only this time the child sees the mammoth skateboarding while wearing a frilly pink tutu; later the mammoth adds a scuba mask to the ensemble (while submerged underwater). Will no one believe the child? A tantrum leads to an avalanche of a result—and finally the protagonist’s claims are proven true. The mammoth departs, returning home to their cave to boldly state, “I DID see a human!” to a trio of adults. A final note reminds readers that mammoths were traditionally found in the Northern Hemisphere while penguins live in the Southern Hemisphere, but just because there’s never been any evidence of Antarctic mammoths, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t keep looking. It’s a funny tale and one that storytellers will have a lot of fun telling—the child’s wild declarations and outraged indignation are supported by colorful and zany illustrations. Savvy educators and caregivers might see this as a humorous introduction to heavier themes of extinction, conservation, and climate change. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Delightful and fun! (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-68464-511-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Kane Miller

Review Posted Online: Oct. 11, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2022


Gently models kindness and respect—positive behavior that can be applied daily.

A group of young “dinosauruses” go out into the world on their own.

A fuchsia little Hugasaurus and her Pappysaur (both of whom resemble Triceratops) have never been apart before, but Hugasaurus happily heads off with lunchbox in hand and “wonder in her heart” to make new friends. The story has a first-day-of-school feeling, but Hugasaurus doesn’t end up in a formal school environment; rather, she finds herself on a playground with other little prehistoric creatures, though no teacher or adult seems to be around. At first, the new friends laugh and play. But Hugasaurus’ pals begin to squabble, and play comes to a halt. As she wonders what to do, a fuzzy platypus playmate asks some wise questions (“What…would your Pappy say to do? / What makes YOU feel better?”), and Hugasaurus decides to give everyone a hug—though she remembers to ask permission first. Slowly, good humor is restored and play begins anew with promises to be slow to anger and, in general, to help create a kinder world. Short rhyming verses occasionally use near rhyme but also include fun pairs like ripples and double-triples. Featuring cozy illustrations of brightly colored creatures, the tale sends a strong message about appropriate and inappropriate ways to resolve conflict, the final pages restating the lesson plainly in a refrain that could become a classroom motto. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Gently models kindness and respect—positive behavior that can be applied daily. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Dec. 6, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-338-82869-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Orchard/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Sept. 27, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2022


Wins for compassion and for the refusal to let physical limitations hold one back.

With such short arms, how can Tiny T. Rex give a sad friend a hug?

Fleck goes for cute in the simple, minimally detailed illustrations, drawing the diminutive theropod with a chubby turquoise body and little nubs for limbs under a massive, squared-off head. Impelled by the sight of stegosaurian buddy Pointy looking glum, little Tiny sets out to attempt the seemingly impossible, a comforting hug. Having made the rounds seeking advice—the dino’s pea-green dad recommends math; purple, New Age aunt offers cucumber juice (“That is disgusting”); red mom tells him that it’s OK not to be able to hug (“You are tiny, but your heart is big!”), and blue and yellow older sibs suggest practice—Tiny takes up the last as the most immediately useful notion. Unfortunately, the “tree” the little reptile tries to hug turns out to be a pterodactyl’s leg. “Now I am falling,” Tiny notes in the consistently self-referential narrative. “I should not have let go.” Fortunately, Tiny lands on Pointy’s head, and the proclamation that though Rexes’ hugs may be tiny, “I will do my very best because you are my very best friend” proves just the mood-lightening ticket. “Thank you, Tiny. That was the biggest hug ever.” Young audiences always find the “clueless grown-ups” trope a knee-slapper, the overall tone never turns preachy, and Tiny’s instinctive kindness definitely puts him at (gentle) odds with the dinky dino star of Bob Shea’s Dinosaur Vs. series.

Wins for compassion and for the refusal to let physical limitations hold one back. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: March 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4521-7033-6

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: Nov. 11, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2018

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