From the Pick Me Up! series

Not a must for dinosaur purists but harmless enough.

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: April 30, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2017


From the Animal Facts and Flaps series

Sure to appeal to budding paleontologists everywhere.

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. 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019



Overall, the dinosaur information presented is readily found in other, more-interesting books, and the format is an ill fit.

Meet 101 dinosaurs by name, divided by type, in this colorful board book.

Each two-page spread features a different grouping of dinosaur types, including favorites such as the “Long-Necks” and “Sharp-toothed.” The verso explains the type, and the recto includes illustrations of many examples, along with their names and phonetic spellings. The description of each grouping consists of four choppy sentences without a lot of variety, and each right-hand page concludes with the repeated phrase “Every dino has a name. / No two dinos were the same!” (with a small alteration of “dinos” to “reptiles” for “Flyers” and “Swimmers”). Though the board-book format implies that this is for very young readers, there’s too much information for that audience to digest. The layout allows for an abridged reading of just the group descriptions, but the writing for these is obvious and lackluster. There aren’t any truly interesting facts or exciting illustrations to grab readers or to set this book apart from a generic encyclopedia entry. The final pages include a dizzying illustration of all the dinosaurs sans names and invite readers to count them. This is a daunting task for a young child—there are 101!—and the crammed-in dinosaurs on the page don’t provide much visual interest.

Overall, the dinosaur information presented is readily found in other, more-interesting books, and the format is an ill fit. (Board book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Jan. 30, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-338-19319-0

Page Count: 14

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Feb. 2, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018