Not a must for dinosaur purists but harmless enough.


From the Pick Me Up! series

Meet five different dinosaurs in this pet-carrier–shaped board book, and picture them as playmates.

Baby Diplodocus and the rest of “the dinosaur gang,” which also includes babies Triceratops, Stegosaurus, Edmontonia, and, of course, Tyrannosaurus rex, come by to play ball; give piggyback rides; thump, stomp, and splash; and camp out in a tent. There is a phonetic pronunciation guide to help caregivers and kids learn to say the name of each one. The dinosaurs are the best thing about this book. Each one is rendered in 3-D, Pixar-style graphics, with nonthreatening, anthropomorphic features and very expressive faces. While robbed of their scale and destructive majesty, these baby dinosaurs are undeniably charming. Most of the book consists of double-page set pieces featuring the dinosaurs against a two-dimensional, cartoon background, with a smattering of photorealistic balls and stuffed animals thrown in for good measure. The text is innocuous but uninspiring, and although the lines are rhymed, the meter is awkward. Words such as “super-cool” and “awesome” feel like bro-speak and needlessly pander; children of board-book age already think their caregivers are cool. Readers young and old may not necessarily recognize the die-cut cover as a pet carrier, but the handle does encourage children to carry the book around, which may promote reading.

Not a must for dinosaur purists but harmless enough. (Board book. 2-5)

Pub Date: April 11, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4654-5956-5

Page Count: 12

Publisher: DK Publishing

Review Posted Online: May 1, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2017

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Sure to appeal to budding paleontologists everywhere.


From the Animal Facts and Flaps series

Colorful, fun, and informative guide for pint-sized dinosaur enthusiasts.

Kid-friendly and more informative than most dino books for tots, this lift-the-flap dinosaur book is a great next step for any kid with an interest in the subject. Each double-page panorama—occasionally folding out to three or even four pages wide—is organized around types of dinosaurs or habitats. While most featured dinosaurs are land dwellers, prehistoric reptiles of the sea and sky appear as well. Dinosaurs are rendered in bright colors on a white background in a childlike style that makes even Tyrannosaurus rex not too terrifying. Make no mistake, though; the king of the dinosaurs is clearly labeled “CARNIVORE.” Folding T. rex’s head back reveals a black-and-white handsaw, to which the text likens its enormous, sharp teeth. Another marginal illustration, captioned, “Watch out! T. rex is looking for its lunch,” shows a Triceratops specimen on a plate. Yet another reads, “Crushed dinosaur bones have been found in T. rex poop!” Several racially diverse kids appear in each scene, like toddler scientists variously observing, inspecting, and riding on the dinosaurs depicted. In addition to teaching the difference between herbivores and carnivores, the book also conveys a sense of the scale of these prehistoric beasts: Diplodocus is two school buses long, a Triceratops adult is the size of an elephant, and a Velociraptor is the size of a turkey, for example.

Sure to appeal to budding paleontologists everywhere. (Board book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 17, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5362-0809-2

Page Count: 16

Publisher: Templar/Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Nov. 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

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Beautiful artwork, just enough info, and winning subject matter.


From the Little Kids First Board Book series

National Geographic delivers refreshingly realistic, un–Barney-fied dinosaurs for the board-book set.

Dinosaurs are ever popular among kids of all ages, but in the board-book market, they are rarely portrayed with the majesty that makes them so fascinating in the first place. In offering after offering, they’re drawn in cute caricatures or gimmicky, textured renditions that don’t at all suggest a time when dinosaurs ruled the Earth. While such renderings are certainly nonthreatening, young readers would be hard-pressed to extrapolate any sense of the primal majesty and scale of these beasts, which have fascinated for generations. Therefore, the colorful, massive reptiles depicted herein, with their armor, horns, plates, talons, and teeth, are a breath of fresh air and a return to honest and untamed portrayals of these fascinating prehistoric beasts. One forgivable conceit employed to reduce the likelihood of nightmares is the occasional word balloon and bad pun: Feathered Scansoriopteryx, for instance, announces, “I’m a real early bird.” The primeval landscapes are lush with vegetation; landscapes and skies feel both alien and familiar. The book features 11 dinosaurs, of which only two, Stegosaurus and Tyrannosaurus rex, are familiar favorites. Portraits of dinosaurs in situ alternate with pages naming the dinosaurs shown, with pronunciation and fun facts about the creatures in question (e.g., “Shunosaurus had a very long tail”) and dinosaurs in general.

Beautiful artwork, just enough info, and winning subject matter. (Board book. 2-5)

Pub Date: March 19, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4263-3696-6

Page Count: 26

Publisher: National Geographic Kids

Review Posted Online: Sept. 1, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2020

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