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An amusing bilingual repartee that just might stir up an appetite for friendship.

Somewhere out in nature, a bluebird meets a hungry, fussy dinosaur.

The much larger orange creature declares, “¡Tengo hambre!” and the little bird responds “Oh, you’re hungry.” An amusing exchange ensues as the bluebird responds in English to the dino’s Spanish statements or questions. The avian altruist considerately offers the dinosaur several foods choices, starting with healthy fare—a banana, fish, fresh salad—and then resorting to calorie-packed grub like pizza, cake, and ice cream. Each meal option is met with refusal, much to the bluebird’s growing exasperation. Finally, it throws out its wings, declares “I GIVE UP!” and asks the dinosaur what it would prefer to eat. It turns out that the bird itself is the dinosaur’s desired repast. Thankfully, with some quick thinking, the beleaguered birdie is able to come up with a solution that saves its life and appeases the ravenous reptile’s hunger. Then the two animals become friends. The simple premise of this dialogue story will be relatable to caregivers who deal with picky eaters, while kids will appreciate the minimalist, childlike drawings and droll outcome. The text mostly avoids the simple sentence and phrase repetition used in most bilingual picture books. Instead, young readers are invited to infer word meaning through a cross-lingual question-and-answer format, supported by context cues. The animals’ genders are unspecified. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

An amusing bilingual repartee that just might stir up an appetite for friendship. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Jan. 11, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-250-77996-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Nov. 15, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2021

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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, 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 18, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2014

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It’s a bit hard to dance, or count, to this beat.

Dinos that love to move and groove get children counting from one to 10—and perhaps moving to the beat.

Beginning with a solo bop by a female dino (she has eyelashes, doncha know), the dinosaur dance party begins. Each turn of the page adds another dino and a change in the dance genre: waltz, country line dancing, disco, limbo, square dancing, hip-hop, and swing. As the party would be incomplete without the moonwalk, the T. Rex does the honors…and once they are beyond their initial panic at his appearance, the onlookers cheer wildly. The repeated refrain on each spread allows for audience participation, though it doesn’t easily trip off the tongue: “They hear a swish. / What’s this? / One more? / One more dino on the floor.” Some of the prehistoric beasts are easily identifiable—pterodactyl, ankylosaurus, triceratops—but others will be known only to the dino-obsessed; none are identified, other than T-Rex. Packed spreads filled with psychedelically colored dinos sporting blocks of color, stripes, or polka dots (and infectious looks of joy) make identification even more difficult, to say nothing of counting them. Indeed, this fails as a counting primer: there are extra animals (and sometimes a grumpy T-Rex) in the backgrounds, and the next dino to join the party pokes its head into the frame on the page before. Besides all that, most kids won’t get the dance references.

It’s a bit hard to dance, or count, to this beat. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: March 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-8075-1598-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Whitman

Review Posted Online: Jan. 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2016

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