Still, Shea’s concept of “winning” at school clearly has to do with self-confidence, determination and, sometimes,...

READ REVIEW

DINOSAUR VS. SCHOOL

From the Dinosaur vs… series

Can a dinosaur come out on top when he tries to tackle all kinds of new things at school?

Meeting new friends? Not a problem—just smile. Dressing up? He’s got that (and style too— sombrero, swim fins and a police uniform). Glitter, glue and googly eyes? He now sports 19 eyes. He is equally adept at making both a snack and music. But what about when it’s time to clean up? The design of the book plays a large part in the action. Every other right-hand page segues the red dino from one victory to the next thing he tries. Still sporting three googly eyes, he marches off the right side of the page, “Dinosaur versus….” A turn of the page reveals “monkey snacks! // ROAR! / Roar, raisins! / Roar, apples!” Another page turn, and “DINOSAUR WINS!”; the tummy-rubbing dino saunters off to the next battle. But while Shea’s indomitable red T. Rex has experienced many victories (Dinosaur vs. Santa, 2012, etc.), he comes up a little short here. The book nicely introduces the types of activities those new to school will participate in, but the digital mixed-media illustrations are so jumbled and manic that readers won’t get a clear sense of them. 

Still, Shea’s concept of “winning” at school clearly has to do with self-confidence, determination and, sometimes, teamwork—a winning idea indeed. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: June 17, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-6087-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2014

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Sadly, the storytelling runs aground.

LITTLE RED SLEIGH

A little red sleigh has big Christmas dreams.

Although the detailed, full-color art doesn’t anthropomorphize the protagonist (which readers will likely identify as a sled and not a sleigh), a close third-person text affords the object thoughts and feelings while assigning feminine pronouns. “She longed to become Santa’s big red sleigh,” reads an early line establishing the sleigh’s motivation to leave her Christmas-shop home for the North Pole. Other toys discourage her, but she perseveres despite creeping self-doubt. A train and truck help the sleigh along, and when she wishes she were big, fast, and powerful like them, they offer encouragement and counsel patience. When a storm descends after the sleigh strikes out on her own, an unnamed girl playing in the snow brings her to a group of children who all take turns riding the sleigh down a hill. When the girl brings her home, the sleigh is crestfallen she didn’t reach the North Pole. A convoluted happily-ever-after ending shows a note from Santa that thanks the sleigh for giving children joy and invites her to the North Pole next year. “At last she understood what she was meant to do. She would build her life up spreading joy, one child at a time.” Will she leave the girl’s house to be gifted to other children? Will she stay and somehow also reach ever more children? Readers will be left wondering. (This book was reviewed digitally with 11-by-18-inch double-page spreads viewed at 31.8% of actual size.)

Sadly, the storytelling runs aground. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-72822-355-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sourcebooks Wonderland

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A sweet, tender and charming experience to read aloud or together.

HEY, DUCK!

A clueless duckling tries to make a new friend.

He is confused by this peculiar-looking duck, who has a long tail, doesn’t waddle and likes to be alone. No matter how explicitly the creature denies he is a duck and announces that he is a cat, the duckling refuses to acknowledge the facts.  When this creature expresses complete lack of interest in playing puddle stomp, the little ducking goes off and plays on his own. But the cat is not without remorse for rejecting an offered friendship. Of course it all ends happily, with the two new friends enjoying each other’s company. Bramsen employs brief sentences and the simplest of rhymes to tell this slight tale. The two heroes are meticulously drawn with endearing, expressive faces and body language, and their feathers and fur appear textured and touchable. Even the detailed tree bark and grass seem three-dimensional. There are single- and double-page spreads, panels surrounded by white space and circular and oval frames, all in a variety of eye-pleasing juxtapositions. While the initial appeal is solidly visual, young readers will get the gentle message that friendship is not something to take for granted but is to be embraced with open arms—or paws and webbed feet.

A sweet, tender and charming experience to read aloud or together. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 22, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-375-86990-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Nov. 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2012

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more