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Otherwise, a handsome and useful work.

Vanished animals from around the world, 26 extinct and one sole survivor, are here displayed on oversized pages in a beautifully designed album.

This French import (by way of New Zealand) is an appealing combination of fact and fancy. Each animal is presented on a double-page spread. On the left, a series of often humorous cartoon panels describe tradition and myth. On the right, under the English and Latin names and a short descriptive paragraph, a single, large panel shows the creature in a natural context. These images have flat, muted colors and carefully inked details. A medallion with fast facts and silhouettes shows the animal in comparison to humans, and insets on the main image add further information. Organized into four general areas, the Americas, Africa, Eurasia and Oceania, these animals appear again at the end in four panels of a frieze, chronologically according to their disappearance, from 15,000 years ago to today. Silhouettes grace the endpapers and an opening world map as well. From the Australian long-beaked echidna to the Galápagos tortoise called Lonesome George (the "sole survivor," now, sadly, deceased), the range is impressive. (Two unfortunate errors early in the book will surprise American readers: the claims that humans arrived in the Americas only 10,000 years ago and that the Bering Strait separates that landmass from Europe.)

Otherwise, a handsome and useful work. (Nonfiction. 9-15)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-877579-06-6

Page Count: 78

Publisher: Gecko Press

Review Posted Online: July 31, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2012

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Reads like a grown-up’s over-the-top effort to peddle a set of kid-friendly premises—a notion that worked for the author’s...

A boy asks Santa for a dinosaur and gets a life-changing experience.

Cribbing freely from any number of classic Christmas stories and films, musician/vlogger Fletcher places his 10-year-old protagonist, William, who uses a wheelchair, at the head of an all-white human cast that features his widowed dad, a girl bully, and a maniacal hunter—plus a dinosaur newly hatched from an egg discovered in the North Pole’s ice by Santa’s elves. Having stowed away on Santa’s sleigh, Christmasaurus meets and bonds with William on Christmas Eve, then, fueled by the power of a child’s belief, flies the lad to the North Pole (“It’s somewhere between Imagination and Make-Believe”) for a meeting with the jolly toymaker himself. Upon his return William gets to see the hunter (who turns out to be his uncle) gun down his dad (who survives), blast a plush dinosaur toy to bits, and then with a poster-sized “CRUNCH! GULP!” go down Christmasaurus’ hatch. In the meantime (emphasis on “mean”), after William spots his previously vicious tormenter, Brenda Payne, crying in the bushes, he forgives trespasses that in real life would have had her arrested and confined long ago. Seemingly just for laffs, the author tosses in doggerel-speaking elves (“ ‘If it’s a girl, can we call her Ginny?’ / ‘I think it’s a boy! Look, he’s got a thingy!’ ”) and closes with further lyrics and a list of 10 (secular) things to love about Christmas. Devries adds sugary illustrations or spot art to nearly every spread.

Reads like a grown-up’s over-the-top effort to peddle a set of kid-friendly premises—a notion that worked for the author’s The Dinosaur That Pooped a Planet (2017), but not here. (Fantasy. 9-11)

Pub Date: Oct. 23, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5247-7330-4

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: July 15, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2018

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From the 'Ology series

The theft actually went the other way, and considering the uninspired result, to no worthy purpose.

The weakest entry in the ’Ology series (so far) is undersupplied with content, invention or even the customary embedded and detachable trinkets.

Supposedly the record of a 1907 expedition that explores a South American island on which primitive humans coexist with dinosaurs, the yellowed “notebook” at first glance looks like others in the series. It features wordy, awed comments in a faux hand-lettered type squeezed into crowded spreads and gatefolds around dashed-off watercolors, small pencil sketches, and inset letters, booklets or info cards that are either pasted in or, more often, printed to look as if they were. Crowded around the edges and sometimes overlapping, the insets provide additional dino portraits, cursory infodumps of standard-issue dino data (as it was in 1907, with editorial updates in small print at the bottom) and brief profiles of prominent early paleontologists. The paltry assortment of “realia” consists of a notably unconvincing pouch of silver-glitter “ground dinosaur horn,” a patch of plastic “Allosaurus skin” and four plastic “jewels.” The overall premise and much of the plot should sound familiar to older readers, and indeed, at the end is a purported letter from Arthur Conan Doyle with an unapologetic admission that he stole them from this “document” for his novel The Lost World.

The theft actually went the other way, and considering the uninspired result, to no worthy purpose. (Novelty. 10-13)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-7636-6739-9

Page Count: 30

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Oct. 22, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2013

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