Light on specifics—but as a visit to a marine-animal–rescue facility, nothing to sneeze at.

THE ADVENTURES OF GRANDMASAURUS AT THE AQUARIUM RESCUE CENTRE

From the Adventures of Grandmasaurus series

Grandma gets up to her “funny business” once again on a class outing.

Just as in the previous The Adventures of Grandmasaurus (2020), a sparkle of special dust sets Grandma, the class chaperone on the field trip to the aquarium, to sneezing, and each blast transforms her into a different prehistoric creature. This time, in line with the locale, the creatures are big marine reptiles or fish—all syllabically identified, from “Sho-ni-saur-us” to “Meg-a-lo-don,” and drawn in the cartoon illustrations with reasonable accuracy…aside from their large glasses, twinkly eyes, and distinctive curls of blue hair anyway. Human Grandma and her frantic granddaughter, who serves as narrator, present as White, but the rest of the class and their task-oriented teacher, Ms. Priya (“Observe and learn, my dear leaders of tomorrow”), are representatively diverse of hair, skin, body type, and mobility. As the class troops past big aquaria and sandy outdoor pens, cautionary notes about leaving live coral and turtle eggs alone and even disposing of litter properly swim alongside quick overviews of what aquatic rescue centers are for. A closing gallery of the 11 creatures Grandma becomes before her final restorative sneeze provides both a recap and a few more basic facts about each.

Light on specifics—but as a visit to a marine-animal–rescue facility, nothing to sneeze at. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 7, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-988761-58-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Common Deer Press

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2021

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Wins for compassion and for the refusal to let physical limitations hold one back.

TINY T. REX AND THE IMPOSSIBLE HUG

With such short arms, how can Tiny T. Rex give a sad friend a hug?

Fleck goes for cute in the simple, minimally detailed illustrations, drawing the diminutive theropod with a chubby turquoise body and little nubs for limbs under a massive, squared-off head. Impelled by the sight of stegosaurian buddy Pointy looking glum, little Tiny sets out to attempt the seemingly impossible, a comforting hug. Having made the rounds seeking advice—the dino’s pea-green dad recommends math; purple, New Age aunt offers cucumber juice (“That is disgusting”); red mom tells him that it’s OK not to be able to hug (“You are tiny, but your heart is big!”), and blue and yellow older sibs suggest practice—Tiny takes up the last as the most immediately useful notion. Unfortunately, the “tree” the little reptile tries to hug turns out to be a pterodactyl’s leg. “Now I am falling,” Tiny notes in the consistently self-referential narrative. “I should not have let go.” Fortunately, Tiny lands on Pointy’s head, and the proclamation that though Rexes’ hugs may be tiny, “I will do my very best because you are my very best friend” proves just the mood-lightening ticket. “Thank you, Tiny. That was the biggest hug ever.” Young audiences always find the “clueless grown-ups” trope a knee-slapper, the overall tone never turns preachy, and Tiny’s instinctive kindness definitely puts him at (gentle) odds with the dinky dino star of Bob Shea’s Dinosaur Vs. series.

Wins for compassion and for the refusal to let physical limitations hold one back. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: March 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4521-7033-6

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: Nov. 12, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2018

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A nicely inventive little morality “tail” for newly independent readers.

THE INFAMOUS RATSOS

From the Infamous Ratsos series , Vol. 1

Two little rats decide to show the world how tough they are, with unpredictable results.

Louie and Ralphie Ratso want to be just like their single dad, Big Lou: tough! They know that “tough” means doing mean things to other animals, like stealing Chad Badgerton’s hat. Chad Badgerton is a big badger, so taking that hat from him proves that Louie and Ralphie are just as tough as they want to be. However, it turns out that Louie and Ralphie have just done a good deed instead of a bad one: Chad Badgerton had taken that hat from little Tiny Crawley, a mouse, so when Tiny reclaims it, they are celebrated for goodness rather than toughness. Sadly, every attempt Louie and Ralphie make at doing mean things somehow turns nice. What’s a little boy rat supposed to do to be tough? Plus, they worry about what their dad will say when he finds out how good they’ve been. But wait! Maybe their dad has some other ideas? LaReau keeps the action high and completely appropriate for readers embarking on chapter books. Each of the first six chapters features a new, failed attempt by Louie and Ralphie to be mean, and the final, seventh chapter resolves everything nicely. The humor springs from their foiled efforts and their reactions to their failures. Myers’ sprightly grayscale drawings capture action and characters and add humorous details, such as the Ratsos’ “unwelcome” mat.

A nicely inventive little morality “tail” for newly independent readers. (Fiction. 5-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 2, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-7636-7636-0

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2016

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