SOME DINOSAURS ARE SMALL

An inventive idea cleverly executed.

A dinosaur story of family and size.

This surprising picture book uses illustrations that slowly build in tension to create a sense of high drama paired with simple, informative text that, on its own, says very little. “Some dinosaurs are small,” it starts, with a wee green reptile happily gathering pineapples in a basket. “They have tiny flat teeth for munching through fruit and leaves,” it goes on, with the small protagonist plucking a pear. But the next page, which says merely that “Some dinosaurs are BIG,” starts to introduce anxiety as enormous yellow and orange legs and tails flank the much smaller dino. The following page introduces two menacing theropods who, accordingly, “have huge pointy teeth and sharp claws.” Readers learn additional basic facts about the personalities and habits of the bigger dinosaurs as they steal fruit from the little one, who at first peeks over its shoulder anxiously and then bolts away. But luckily, the last dinosaur readers meet, who is “simply… /ENORMOUS,” turns out to be the teeny one’s mother, and she scares away the relatively puny carnivores. The well-paced text steadily and deliberately drives the image-drawn action forward, making for an engaging read-aloud that’s sure to appeal to dinosaur lovers and their friends.

An inventive idea cleverly executed. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5362-0936-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: April 7, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2020

HERE WE GO DIGGING FOR DINOSAUR BONES

A common topic ably presented—with a participatory element adding an unusual and brilliant angle.

To the tune of a familiar ditty, budding paleontologists can march, dig, and sift with a crew of dinosaur hunters.

Modeling her narrative after “Here We Go ’Round the Mulberry Bush,” Lendroth (Old Manhattan Has Some Farms, 2014, etc.) invites readers to add appropriate actions and gestures as they follow four scientists—modeled by Kolar as doll-like figures of varied gender and racial presentation, with oversized heads to show off their broad smiles—on a dig. “This is the way we clean the bones, clean the bones, clean the bones. / This is the way we clean the bones on a warm and sunny morning.” The smiling paleontologists find, then carefully excavate, transport, and reassemble the fossil bones of a T. rex into a museum display. A fleshed-out view of the toothy specimen on a wordless spread brings the enterprise to a suitably dramatic climax, and unobtrusive notes in the lower corners capped by a closing overview add digestible quantities of dino-detail and context. As in Jessie Hartland’s How the Dinosaur Got to the Museum (2011), the combination of patterned text and bright cartoon pictures of scientists at accurately portrayed work offers just the ticket to spark or feed an early interest in matters prehistoric.

A common topic ably presented—with a participatory element adding an unusual and brilliant angle. (Informational picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-62354-104-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: Dec. 17, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

I AM OKAY TO FEEL

A useful primer for socioemotional growth.

Queer Eye star Karamo Brown and his son Jason “Rachel” Brown affirm that all feelings—even negative ones—are OK.

A round-faced boy with brown skin, big brown eyes, and a bright smile walks outside, talking with his dad about feelings. With the son’s speech printed in blue and Dad’s in black, the boy announces that he’s happy and shows it by jumping and spinning while Dad dances. The book’s palette, which often reflects the boy’s emotional state, shifts drastically when a thunderstorm blows in as the sky swirls with patterns in deep blue and purple, and a thick yellow lightning bolt blasts through—a dramatic scene that represents the boy’s perception of the turbulent weather as he sits on the ground crying, hugging his knees. Dad assures him that it’s all right to feel and express fear and helps him calm these negative emotions by encouraging him to stretch and breathe deeply. While the book’s lesson is conveyed in a slightly heavy-handed manner, it’s a good message, and readers will appreciate seeing a story that centers a Black father and son dispelling the stereotype that men and boys—especially those of color—don’t or shouldn’t express emotions. The backmatter includes an emotion wheel with the boy showing a range of facial expressions, accompanied by activities and questions. The acronym “FEEL OKAY” offers opportunities to practice discussing emotions. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A useful primer for socioemotional growth. (authors’ note) (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Nov. 8, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-63893-010-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Zando

Review Posted Online: Sept. 13, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2022

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