J.P. AND THE BOSSY DINOSAUR

FEELING UNHAPPY

From the My Emotions and Me series

Crespo needs a dictionary if she’s going to make the series succeed.

Young JP’s happy mood takes a (temporary) flier when he discovers from a dinosaur-shaped measuring sign that he’s too short for the Tween-o-Saurus Rex pool.

The latest entry in Crespo’s My Emotions and Me series goes seriously off the rails, as the Mood-o-Meter on the cover points to “sad,” but JP’s feelings seem a lot more like frustration or rage. The lad himself misidentifies his reaction to passing well beneath the “You Must Be This Tall” sign: “I almost threw a fit. I was so sad.” The fugue only lasts a page turn, whereupon JP recalls that “I am a happy dinosaur” and cheerfully goes off to do a cannonball into the presumably relatively shallow Diplodo-Kids pool. Sirotich’s cartoon illustrations will likewise leave young readers confused. If they are not puzzled by the way that the sign comes to life when JP tries to argue with it, or how JP and everyone else are depicted as dinosaurs on some spreads and people on others, then a later scene in which he is again made “sad” by the sight of a dog riding a tricycle will definitely make them scratch their heads. The author’s italicized closing disclaimer that she’s not an expert in child psychology is probably superfluous.

Crespo needs a dictionary if she’s going to make the series succeed. (note to parents and teachers) (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-8075-3981-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Whitman

Review Posted Online: Dec. 7, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2015

THE HUGASAURUS

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

ROBOT, GO BOT!

A straightforward tale of conflict and reconciliation for newly emergent readers? Not exactly, which raises it above the...

In this deceptively spare, very beginning reader, a girl assembles a robot and then treats it like a slave until it goes on strike.

Having put the robot together from a jumble of loose parts, the budding engineer issues an increasingly peremptory series of rhymed orders— “Throw, Bot. / Row, Bot”—that turn from playful activities like chasing bubbles in the yard to tasks like hoeing the garden, mowing the lawn and towing her around in a wagon. Jung crafts a robot with riveted edges, big googly eyes and a smile that turns down in stages to a scowl as the work is piled on. At last, the exhausted robot plops itself down, then in response to its tormentor’s angry “Don’t say no, Bot!” stomps off in a huff. In one to four spacious, sequential panels per spread, Jung develops both the plotline and the emotional conflict using smoothly modeled cartoon figures against monochromatic or minimally detailed backgrounds. The child’s commands, confined in small dialogue balloons, are rhymed until her repentant “Come on home, Bot” breaks the pattern but leads to a more equitable division of labor at the end.

A straightforward tale of conflict and reconciliation for newly emergent readers? Not exactly, which raises it above the rest. (Easy reader. 4-6)

Pub Date: June 25, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-375-87083-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: April 14, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2013

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