The age-appropriate new vocabulary and the clever design will prompt hours of study by aspiring paleontologists; the sturdy...

DINOBLOCK

From the Block Books series

At a hefty 96 pages and 2 inches thick, this dinofest will be a challenge for little hands to lift, but the subject matter is sure to intrigue for longer than most board books.

“Meet the Dinosaurs” announces the banner across the opening illustration of a museum entrance. Then gatefolds open over 20 inches across with the questions “Who are the dinosaurs? Where are the dinosaurs?” below a museum diorama. Subsequent pages provide the answers using an effective formula: a one-line simile comparing a dinosaur to something a child might recognize, a die-cut page that highlights a characteristic of that dinosaur, then a page turn that reveals the name of the dinosaur and its phonetic pronunciation. The final gatefolds open to reveal the skeletons of each of the 23 dinosaurs introduced. A blonde Caucasian girl and a dark-skinned boy serve as the museum tour guides. Some of the comparisons are rather obscure; the spikes of a stegosaurus are compared to tents on a hill, for instance. The book will raise as many questions as it answers—for example, the dinosaurs are portrayed in varied colors, yet there is no explanation as to how scientists have determined their coloring or other features—paving the way for investigation of the topic in greater detail as readers age.

The age-appropriate new vocabulary and the clever design will prompt hours of study by aspiring paleontologists; the sturdy construction ensures the book will survive them. (Board book. 2-5)

Pub Date: June 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4197-1674-4

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Abrams Appleseed

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

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Little Blue’s fans will enjoy the animal sounds and counting opportunities, but it’s the sparkling lights on the truck’s own...

LITTLE BLUE TRUCK'S CHRISTMAS

The sturdy Little Blue Truck is back for his third adventure, this time delivering Christmas trees to his band of animal pals.

The truck is decked out for the season with a Christmas wreath that suggests a nose between headlights acting as eyeballs. Little Blue loads up with trees at Toad’s Trees, where five trees are marked with numbered tags. These five trees are counted and arithmetically manipulated in various ways throughout the rhyming story as they are dropped off one by one to Little Blue’s friends. The final tree is reserved for the truck’s own use at his garage home, where he is welcomed back by the tree salestoad in a neatly circular fashion. The last tree is already decorated, and Little Blue gets a surprise along with readers, as tiny lights embedded in the illustrations sparkle for a few seconds when the last page is turned. Though it’s a gimmick, it’s a pleasant surprise, and it fits with the retro atmosphere of the snowy country scenes. The short, rhyming text is accented with colored highlights, red for the animal sounds and bright green for the numerical words in the Christmas-tree countdown.

Little Blue’s fans will enjoy the animal sounds and counting opportunities, but it’s the sparkling lights on the truck’s own tree that will put a twinkle in a toddler’s eyes. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 23, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-544-32041-3

Page Count: 24

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 12, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2014

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Young dino fans will enjoy it, though their grown-ups may not.

NOISY DINOSAURS

From the My First Touch and Feel Sound Book series

What sounds did dinosaurs make? We don't really know.

Litton suggests some possibilities while introducing sophisticated vocabulary in a board-book format. Five dinosaurs are featured: Tyrannosaurus rex, Stegosaurus, Pterodactyl, Diplodocus, and Triceratops. For each species there is a brief description that highlights its distinctive features, followed by an invitation to hear and repeat the dinosaur's sound. There is no explanation for why scientists think T. Rex “roared,” Stegosaurus “howled,” Pterodactyl “screeched,” Diplodocus “growled,” or Triceratops “grunted.” The author tries to avoid sexism, carefully referring to two of the creatures as “she,” but those two are also described in stereotypically less-ferocious terms than the male dinos. The touch point on the Pterodactyl is a soft section of wing. Readers are told that Diplodocus “loved splashing in swamps,” and the instruction is to “tickle her tummy to hear her growl,” implying that this giant creature was gentle and friendly. None of this may matter to young paleontologists, who will enjoy finding the tactile section on each creature that triggers the sound. Despite extensive directions in small print, most parents and libraries won't bother to change the battery secured by a tiny hex screw, but while the battery lasts, the book will get lots of play.

Young dino fans will enjoy it, though their grown-ups may not. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-58925-207-3

Page Count: 12

Publisher: Tiger Tales

Review Posted Online: Aug. 5, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2016

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