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Fine viewing, but more of an art exhibit than a systematic family history.

Recently discovered hints that most dinosaurs may have been feathered cap a gallery of prehistoric predecessors to today’s birds.

The presentation has more of a cobbled-together feel than Guiberson’s previous look at the deep past, The Greatest Dinosaur Ever (illustrated by Gennady Spirin, 2013). Despite the title, the book goes beyond feathers. Guiberson discusses how the colors of fossilized feathers can be deduced from the shapes of their microscopic melanosomes, but she also describes early appearances of other avian features such as wishbones and a two-legged stance. But that anatomical focus doesn’t extend to the illustrations, as in the dimly lit paintings, dinosaurs loom indistinctly, their colors muted and limbs tightly folded or otherwise angled so that structural details are hard to make out. Eoalulavis appears only as a few tiny figures winging past a pair of immense sauropods, and the towering ornithischian confronting a modern ostrich on the final spread isn’t identified at all. The portraits are arranged in rough chronological order, but there are no clues in text or pictures to the dinosaurs’ specific eras. Despite a reference to the “teeny wings” of Hesperornis and a few other breaks in tone, the author’s commentary is otherwise solid…until its grand but insupportable closing claim that birds now inhabit “every environment on Earth.”

Fine viewing, but more of an art exhibit than a systematic family history. (bibliography) (Informational picture book. 8-10)

Pub Date: March 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-8050-9828-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Nov. 10, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2015

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From the Dino Riders series , Vol. 1

Adventures and misadventures, Old West style—but with dinos.

Young Josh needs to up his ride if he’s going to win the Trihorn settlement’s 100th-anniversary Founders’ Day race and meet his hero, Terrordactyl Bill.

Set on the Lost Plains, where ranchers tend to herds of iguanodons, and horses (if there were any) would be easy pickings for the local predators, this series kickoff pits a brash lad and sidekick and schoolmates Sam and Abi against not only the requisite bully, but such fiercer adversaries as attacking pterodactyls. Josh’s first challenge after eagerly entering the race is finding a faster, nimbler steed than his steady but old gallimimus, Plodder. Along comes Charge—an aptly named, if not-quite-fully-trained triceratops with speed, brains, and, it turns out, a streak of loyalty that saves Josh’s bacon both here and in a simultaneously publishing sequel, How To Rope a Giganotosaurus, which prominently features T. Rex’s much larger cousin. Dare adds a map, as well as spot illustrations of rural Western types (Josh and Abi are white, Sam has dark skin and tightly curled hair) astride toothy, brightly patterned dinos. In both adventures Josh weathers regular encounters with dinosaur dung, snot, and gas as well as threats to life and limb to show up the aforementioned bully and emerge a hero.

Adventures and misadventures, Old West style—but with dinos. (Fantasy. 8-10)

Pub Date: April 4, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4926-4668-6

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Review Posted Online: Jan. 16, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2017

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From the Dino-Mike series , Vol. 1

Like Sam with those hot dogs, readers eager to snap up any dino-story will make quick work of this tongue-in-cheek romp.

The appearance of a live T. Rex near a fossil dig kicks off a wild round of dino-antics in this series kickoff from an Eisner Award–winning comics writer.

Hardly has young Mike donned his high-tech, solar-powered hoodie—a present from his paleontologist dad—than he’s running into Shannon, a mysterious girl wielding awesome futuristic devices, and running in panic from a hungry T. Rex he decides, in a less frantic moment, to name Sam. Secretive about her origins, Shannon enlists Mike, whom she dubs “Dino-Mike” (she herself goes by the less punchy moniker “Triceratops Shannon”), to help her steal a hot dog truck and lure the monster into a force field cage so that it can be sent back to the Cretaceous. Though ultimately successful, the mission is not only complicated by continuing interference from rascally dinosaur collector Jurassic Jeff, but capped, in a closing stunner, with unmistakable evidence that “Sam” was actually “Samantha.” Franco strews his lickety-split escapade with cartoons featuring wide-eyed figures viewed, often, from dramatic angles, leaves loose ends aplenty for sequels, and tacks on a dino-glossary and a set of T. Rex facts at the end.

Like Sam with those hot dogs, readers eager to snap up any dino-story will make quick work of this tongue-in-cheek romp. (Science fiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: March 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4342-9631-3

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Capstone Young Readers

Review Posted Online: Dec. 5, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2014

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