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An amusingly anarchic paleontological primer.

Racially diverse children take a class field trip and learn about dinosaurs...and themselves.

A busload of not-so-supervised children romps through a dinosaur exhibit at a museum of natural history. They hop over stanchions, clamber up the skeleton displays, and seize fossil pieces; a sign ineffectually reads, “PLEASE DON’T TOUCH!” An ambiguously Black museum employee tries in vain to maintain order (though he ultimately joins the fun). Narrated in the first-person plural, the rhyming text lists the many attributes of dinosaurs: “We're explorers, / outdoorers. / We travel in herds. / Don't try to catch us, / we'll fly off like birds”; and “WE'VE GOT / MAXILLAE, / MANDIBLES, / CLAVICLES, / RIBS. // SCAPULAS, / HUMERI, / TIBIAS, / FIBS”; and so forth. However, the amusing and educational illustrations make it clear that the children aren’t too different from the prehistoric reptiles; in fact, by the visit’s end, the kids have undergone a “roarsome” transformation. Ylvisaker’s text—which takes amusing liberties to achieve some of the rhymes—is delightfully silly but provides plenty of opportunities for vocabulary-building. Best of all, caregivers and children can channel their inner dinos and “ROAR,” “STOMP,” and “CHOMP!” together. The children are cartoonishly rendered with faces composed of simple geometric shapes and a variety of skin tones. One girl uses a wheelchair.

An amusingly anarchic paleontological primer. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 1, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-951836-43-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Cameron + Company

Review Posted Online: Dec. 26, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2022

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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

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A welcome addition to autumnal storytelling—and to tales of traditional enemies overcoming their history.

Ferry and the Fans portray a popular seasonal character’s unlikely friendship.

Initially, the protagonist is shown in his solitary world: “Scarecrow stands alone and scares / the fox and deer, / the mice and crows. / It’s all he does. It’s all he knows.” His presence is effective; the animals stay outside the fenced-in fields, but the omniscient narrator laments the character’s lack of friends or places to go. Everything changes when a baby crow falls nearby. Breaking his pole so he can bend, the scarecrow picks it up, placing the creature in the bib of his overalls while singing a lullaby. Both abandon natural tendencies until the crow learns to fly—and thus departs. The aabb rhyme scheme flows reasonably well, propelling the narrative through fall, winter, and spring, when the mature crow returns with a mate to build a nest in the overalls bib that once was his home. The Fan brothers capture the emotional tenor of the seasons and the main character in their panoramic pencil, ballpoint, and digital compositions. Particularly poignant is the close-up of the scarecrow’s burlap face, his stitched mouth and leaf-rimmed head conveying such sadness after his companion goes. Some adults may wonder why the scarecrow seems to have only partial agency, but children will be tuned into the problem, gratified by the resolution.

A welcome addition to autumnal storytelling—and to tales of traditional enemies overcoming their history. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-247576-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 7, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2019

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