Not exactly a creative leap, leap, leap for Hines, but a broadly popular topic enhanced with light brushes of fact, wrapped...

I AM A TYRANNOSAURUS

Second time’s also a charm for this close cousin to I Am a Backhoe (2010).

In this iteration it’s a blond, rather than dark-haired, lad imagining himself—and posing expressively in the digitally drawn and painted pictures—as a sequence of dinosaurs. He pretends to be five named dinos and a hatchling in succession before his mother (rather than father, as previously) appears. (The dinos represented are, in addition to the titular T. Rex, velociraptor, brachiosaurus, triceratops and pteranodon.) He dubs his mother “Maiasaurus” (“That means… / good mother lizard,” the child explains) before cuddling into her lap. Featuring realistic, sharply defined figures of boy and dinosaurs floating above rich washes of color, the art reflects both the imaginative play’s exuberance and the narrative’s patterned simplicity: “I’m not so big, with a stiff tail and little wings, but I run fast and leap, leap, leap. I am… / a velociraptor.”

Not exactly a creative leap, leap, leap for Hines, but a broadly popular topic enhanced with light brushes of fact, wrapped in family warmth and presented in a comfortably formulaic way. (Picture book. 2-6)

Pub Date: July 12, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-58246-413-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Tricycle

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2011

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

THE HUGASAURUS

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. 28, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2022

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Plotless and pointless, the book clearly exists only because its celebrity author wrote it.

YOUR BABY'S FIRST WORD WILL BE DADA

A succession of animal dads do their best to teach their young to say “Dada” in this picture-book vehicle for Fallon.

A grumpy bull says, “DADA!”; his calf moos back. A sad-looking ram insists, “DADA!”; his lamb baas back. A duck, a bee, a dog, a rabbit, a cat, a mouse, a donkey, a pig, a frog, a rooster, and a horse all fail similarly, spread by spread. A final two-spread sequence finds all of the animals arrayed across the pages, dads on the verso and children on the recto. All the text prior to this point has been either iterations of “Dada” or animal sounds in dialogue bubbles; here, narrative text states, “Now everybody get in line, let’s say it together one more time….” Upon the turn of the page, the animal dads gaze round-eyed as their young across the gutter all cry, “DADA!” (except the duckling, who says, “quack”). Ordóñez's illustrations have a bland, digital look, compositions hardly varying with the characters, although the pastel-colored backgrounds change. The punch line fails from a design standpoint, as the sudden, single-bubble chorus of “DADA” appears to be emanating from background features rather than the baby animals’ mouths (only some of which, on close inspection, appear to be open). It also fails to be funny.

Plotless and pointless, the book clearly exists only because its celebrity author wrote it. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: June 9, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-250-00934-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2015

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