For kids who like to have a little rambunctious, sloppy fun with their Christmas baking.

COOKIESAURUS CHRISTMAS

From the Cookiesaurus Rex series

A table full of cookie cutters and an empty plate for Santa, seen from above, set the stage for the return of Cookiesaurus Rex after his eponymous debut (2017).

All of the cookies—bell, star, gingerbread boy, and the reptilian, self-described “King of All Cookies”—hope to be picked for Santa’s plate. But it’s Cookiesaurus who takes issue with the baker, whose hand moves everyone but him. He points out that “it’s not fair. Dinos have Christmas spirit too!” He does everything he can to be included, including pole-vaulting to the plate with a candy cane (and spilling the milk), but the hand keeps putting him back on the tray. Cookiesaurus’ snarky dialogue, delivered in speech bubbles, provides the humor that moves this adventure along: “Me! Pick Me!… / …What’s so special about Star? Is it because she twinkles? Because I can tinkle too…I mean TWINKLE!” After a great deal of effort, he finally gets put on the plate, but all of the others have fallen in the process. The fear that he’ll be put on Santa’s “Naughty List” compels him to put the others back on the plate. After one last outburst (“Wait one stinkin’, stompin’ minute!”), he’s rewarded in the end. Colorful illustrations bring the expressive cookies to life; the hand that wields “Mr. Spatula” is white.

For kids who like to have a little rambunctious, sloppy fun with their Christmas baking. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 4, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4847-6745-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Aug. 20, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2018

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Count on construction die-hards falling in love, but discerning readers would be wise to look elsewhere for their...

DIGGERSAURS

Less ambitious than Chris Gall’s widely known Dinotrux (2009) and sequels, this British import systematically relegates each dinosaur/construction-equipment hybrid to its most logical job.

The title figures are introduced as bigger than both diggers and dinosaurs, and rhyming text and two construction-helmeted kids show just what these creatures are capable of. Each diggersaur has a specific job to do and a distinct sound effect. The dozersaurus moves rocks with a “SCRAAAAPE!!!” while the rollersaurus flattens lumps with a cheery “TOOT TOOT!!” Each diggersaur is numbered, with 12 in all, allowing this to be a counting book on the sly. As the diggersaurs (not all of which dig) perform jobs that regular construction equipment can do, albeit on a larger scale, there is no particular reason why any of them should have dinosaurlike looks other than just ’cause. Peppy computer art tries valiantly to attract attention away from the singularly unoriginal text. “Diggersaurs dig with bites so BIG, / each SCOOP creates a crater. // They’re TOUGH and STRONG / with necks so long— / they’re super EXCAVATORS!” Far more interesting are the two human characters, a white girl and a black boy, that flit about the pictures offering commentary and action. Much of the fun of the book can be found in trying to spot them on every two-page spread.

Count on construction die-hards falling in love, but discerning readers would be wise to look elsewhere for their dino/construction kicks. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: April 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-9848-4779-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

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Still, this young boy’s imagination is a powerful force for helping him deal with life, something that should be true for...

OLIVER AND HIS EGG

Oliver, of first-day-of-school alligator fame, is back, imagining adventures and still struggling to find balance between introversion and extroversion.

“When Oliver found his egg…” on the playground, mint-green backgrounds signifying Oliver’s flight into fancy slowly grow larger until they take up entire spreads; Oliver’s creature, white and dinosaurlike with orange polka dots, grows larger with them. Their adventures include sharing treats, sailing the seas and going into outer space. A classmate’s yell brings him back to reality, where readers see him sitting on top of a rock. Even considering Schmid’s scribbly style, readers can almost see the wheels turning in his head as he ponders the girl and whether or not to give up his solitary play. “But when Oliver found his rock… // Oliver imagined many adventures // with all his friends!” This last is on a double gatefold that opens to show the children enjoying the creature’s slippery curves. A final wordless spread depicts all the children sitting on rocks, expressions gleeful, wondering, waiting, hopeful. The illustrations, done in pastel pencil and digital color, again make masterful use of white space and page turns, although this tale is not nearly as funny or tongue-in-cheek as Oliver and His Alligator (2013), nor is its message as clear and immediately accessible to children.

Still, this young boy’s imagination is a powerful force for helping him deal with life, something that should be true for all children but sadly isn’t. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: July 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-7573-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2014

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