Go, Cryptoclidus! (Picture book. 6-9)

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PLESIOSAUR PERIL

From the Tales of Prehistoric Life series

Another prehistoric predicament from the creators of Ankylosaur Attack (2011) and Pterosaur Trouble (2013), with similarly nongory but otherwise photorealistic illustrations.

Gliding sinuously through shallow, sunlit waters crowded with tentacled ammonites and early fish, a young Cryptoclidus follows her mother and the rest of the plesiosaur pod. They feed peacefully on squidlike belemnites—until, distracted by a reef’s nooks and crannies, the saurian protagonist becomes separated and attracts the attention of hungry Liopleurodon, a much larger, predatory relative. Depicted from angles that show off their cetacean bulk, long-necked grace and crocodilian dentifrice to thrilling effect, both marine reptiles cut convincingly lifelike figures as they torpedo through equally realistic oceanscapes. Cryptoclidus makes an escape at last with a frantic leap over the reef’s jutting rocks and is reunited with her parent: “It was a big, wild, dangerous ocean, but they would swim it together. As a family.” Loxton stirs current theories about plesiosaur behavior and physiology into his melodramatic episode, expanding on them in an informative afterword.

Go, Cryptoclidus! (Picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: March 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-55453-633-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Kids Can

Review Posted Online: Dec. 11, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2014

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Gift items for confirmed young enthusiasts, with a substantial but not wearisome informational load.

DINOSAURS

From the Smithsonian Young Explorers series

In lunchbox-style packaging, a booklet of dino facts and a prehistoric panorama are presented on both a folded poster and a jigsaw puzzle.

Strother devotes 10 of her 32 pages to ornithischian, or bird-hipped, dinosaurs (correctly noting that they are not the ancestors of modern birds). She also manages to survey the Mesozoic Era in general, introduce a few theropods, describe fossilization, and present up-to-date information about dinosaur colors and extinction theories. All of this is crammed onto thematic spreads with small paintings and photos of fossils or generic images of fleshed-out reconstructions in minimally detailed settings. Francis contributes a collective portrait of dinosaurs of diverse size and period posing together over a labeled timeline. This can be hung up and, as a 130-piece jigsaw, assembled. Also available from the same author and illustrator, and likewise in a round-corned box with a carrying handle and snap close, is Oceans, a densely populated dive into the deep.

Gift items for confirmed young enthusiasts, with a substantial but not wearisome informational load. (Informational novelty. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-62686-145-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Silver Dolphin

Review Posted Online: Oct. 6, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2014

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A bland but amiable iteration.

THE WONDROUS DINOSAURIUM

Yet another child learns that dinosaurs make exciting, if chancy, pets.

On the prowl for a pet, Danny walks past shop windows displaying puppies and kittens to enter the titular storefront…where “Mr. Ree, purveyor of prehistoric pets,” offers him any dino he might desire. Unfortunately his first pick, Diplodocus longus, eats half a ton of veggies per day; his second, Tyrannosaurus rex (“Ooh, brave choice”), is too, well, “drooly”; and later ones—unnamed but brightly patterned, smiling, and recognizably depicted in Brown’s cartoon scenes—prove likewise impractical or unsatisfactory. (Confirmed dinophiles might be able to tag the unidentified beasts, but there is no key for paleontological newbies.) Condon works the well-worn premise to a happy resolution, as the pet Danny finally brings home in a box turns out to be not an ordinary tortoise, as his mother thinks at first sight, but a spiky-tailed, tortoiselike Meiolania from the Middle Miocene, small enough to pick up…at first, anyway. Aside from a background figure in one scene, the human cast is uniformly white. José Carlos Andrés and Ana Sanfelippo’s Adopting a Dinosaur (2019), Jason Cockcroft’s How To Take Care of Your Dinosaur (2019), and Diego Vaisberg’s Dino (2018) are but three recent examples of the superior treatments available.

A bland but amiable iteration. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: April 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-84886-474-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Maverick Publishing

Review Posted Online: Dec. 18, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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