Unwieldy for library use; just right for little hands and big (really big) laps.


A separate small hardcover volume about small dinosaurs nestles in the front cover of a much, much larger album of their humongous cousins.

Each part of this Italian import features 18 spread-filling dinosaurs in side views, tricked out by Cosanti in loud, saturated colors or patterns and posed for scale with a remarkably calm white chicken against the same tropical backdrop. The effect is a bit surreal, as the dinos and the prehistoric foliage have the thick, rounded look and fuzzy surfaces of stuffed toys, but the weight and bulk of the looming creatures in the superoversized volume—and the lithe grace of most of their often feathered smaller relatives in the diminutive one—do come through vividly enough to make strong impressions on viewers. Each portrait comes with an identifying label and a descriptive comment. Along with being admittedly speculative, several of the latter are afflicted with translation issues. Still, even expert dinophiles are likely to find mixed in with the usual suspects a surprising number of unfamiliar species, such as Magnapaulia, Therizinosaurus, and Parvicursor. In like packaging, The Big Book of Giant Sea Creatures and the Small Book of Tiny Sea Creatures portrays in the two parts 36 brightly hued, often exotic saltwater denizens, from the ½-inch anemone shrimp to 110-foot blue whale and 130-foot giant siphonophore. An intrepid clownfish (sometimes, understandably, hard to spot) provides a sense of scale in each portrait, and accompanying comments offer notes on sizes, habitats, and like helpful points.

Unwieldy for library use; just right for little hands and big (really big) laps. (Informational picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 14, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-62795-157-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Shelter Harbor Press

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

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Routine, bottom-shelf fare.


Imported from France, a gallery of dinosaurs and prehistoric reptiles, animated by pop-ups, spinners, and pull-tabs.

A pair of oversimplifications—that dinosaurs “no longer exist” but “entire skeletons” can be viewed in museums—starts the survey off with a resounding thud. Following this, in a disconnected ramble, topical spreads deal with the science of paleontology, the life cycle of Saltasaurus from egg to adult, defense mechanisms, big dinos, and, for an abrupt close, sea life. Some dinos feature feathers or crests in a low-contrast second color, but most are monochrome and all so simplified in form that, for instance, there’s almost no discernible difference between dull-hued Diplodocus and Brachiosaurus, immediately above it. The interactions are no great shakes either. Except for an initial spread-spanning folded flap, the pop-ups are printed on only one side, and the swings of the pull-tab tails of Ankylosaurus and Diplodocus aren’t even slightly realistic. Flora and fauna feel arbitrarily placed, and some feature unhelpfully generic labels such as “school of fish,” or “rodents” rather than actual identifiers. The co-published Firefighters, written by Anne-Sophie Baumann and illustrated by Benjamin Bécue, opens with an exploding building but otherwise offers a similarly flat assortment of general facts and low-rent special effects. In both volumes human figures, where they appear, are diverse in gender presentation, age, and skin color.

Routine, bottom-shelf fare. (Informational pop-up picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 4, 2018

ISBN: 979-1-02760-428-9

Page Count: 14

Publisher: Twirl/Chronicle

Review Posted Online: July 24, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2018

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A sturdy portrayal of Victorian scientist Mary Anning that showcases her accomplishments, intelligence, and perseverance.


A new picture-book biography of the pioneering scientist and finder of bones.

Armed with both a hammer and chisel and a spirit of inquiry, young Mary Anning searched the beach and cliffs of Lyme Regis, England, eventually unearthing the bones of an enormous, heretofore-unknown creature. Action-filled illustrations and straightforward text allow Anning’s determination to shine through and show how her knowledge as well as the fossils she found were initially dismissed because of the sexism of the time yet nevertheless led to the study of fossils, the invention of paleontology, the understanding that animals could become extinct, and the discovery of dinosaurs. Though her financial struggles as a white woman of the time are made evident, portions of her story, including the facts that she was struck by lightning as a baby and that her father died when she was around 11, go unmentioned before the informative backmatter, which seems a lost opportunity. Readers likely to ask questions—her age when she made various discoveries, why she began searching the cliffs, the specific time period in which she lived—will have to wait for the timeline and author’s note. (An additional spread offers a smattering of paleontology facts.) Still, Anning is clearly a worthy subject, and this tale of her accomplishments is sure to elicit excitement and curiosity.

A sturdy portrayal of Victorian scientist Mary Anning that showcases her accomplishments, intelligence, and perseverance. (Picture book/biography. 6-9)

Pub Date: July 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-7282-0951-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sourcebooks eXplore

Review Posted Online: March 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

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