Imagination as a coping mechanism equals lots of superpowered fun.

SUPER SAURUS SAVES KINDERGARTEN

Though his practical sister, Emily, is ready for kindergarten, Arnold, aka Super Saurus, isn’t too sure, so he’s making plans now to escape, superhero-fashion, from all the imagined perils he will face.

These include Zorgo the Evil Genius as his teacher and Zorgo’s pet T. rex, Krok, who eats kids. But with the young, green dinosaur’s planning and packing, which includes his superhero cape and mask, he is sure to succeed in evading them both. Young’s acrylic-and–colored-pencil illustrations marvelously cut between real and imagined scenes as Super Saurus enacts his plans: using his Scuba Suit to escape the sub (car) that holds him prisoner and, when that fails, donning Sticky Shoes to climb a skyscraper (the play structure). But his dad is too quick for him, and before he knows it, he is face to face with Zorgo (Mr. Z., his new teacher, depicted as a bipedal, crested sauropod with a comically long neck). The tongue-in-cheek adventures continue throughout the day as Super Saurus, with Emily’s help, uses his skills to save the class from Krok (a tiny lizard). Since it’s obvious that kindergarten needs him, Super Saurus says he’ll be back the next day…and Mr. Z. can call him Arnold. Young cleverly makes Arnold’s imaginative adventures kid-doable: the Sticky Shoes are smeared with peanut butter, and the Rescue Rocket is a decorated box.

Imagination as a coping mechanism equals lots of superpowered fun. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: June 27, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4231-7568-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: May 15, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2017

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Formulaic but not stale…even if it does mine previous topical material rather than expand it.

HOW DO DINOSAURS SHOW GOOD MANNERS?

From the How Do Dinosaurs…? series

A guide to better behavior—at home, on the playground, in class, and in the library.

Serving as a sort of overview for the series’ 12 previous exercises in behavior modeling, this latest outing opens with a set of badly behaving dinos, identified in an endpaper key and also inconspicuously in situ. Per series formula, these are paired to leading questions like “Does she spit out her broccoli onto the floor? / Does he shout ‘I hate meat loaf!’ while slamming the door?” (Choruses of “NO!” from young audiences are welcome.) Midway through, the tone changes (“No, dinosaurs don’t”), and good examples follow to the tune of positive declarative sentences: “They wipe up the tables and vacuum the floors. / They share all the books and they never slam doors,” etc. Teague’s customary, humongous prehistoric crew, all depicted in exact detail and with wildly flashy coloration, fill both their spreads and their human-scale scenes as their human parents—no same-sex couples but some are racially mixed, and in one the man’s the cook—join a similarly diverse set of sibs and other children in either disapprobation or approving smiles. All in all, it’s a well-tested mix of oblique and prescriptive approaches to proper behavior as well as a lighthearted way to play up the use of “please,” “thank you,” and even “I’ll help when you’re hurt.”

Formulaic but not stale…even if it does mine previous topical material rather than expand it. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 20, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-338-36334-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Blue Sky/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2020

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It’s got witty illustrations, but it paints a pretty bleak picture for society.

THAT'S WHAT DINOSAURS DO

When a T. Rex gets a sore throat and cannot roar for one whole week, his self-control is tested.

William loves to roar. But not just for the sake of making loud noise. He loves hiding, sneaking, and scaring, along with roaring. He can’t help it. As the titular refrain explains: “That’s what dinosaurs do.” Oswald’s blue-dappled, toothy dino peers out from behind bushes, frightening folks in literally hair-raising fashion (even the sheep that he scares have their wool standing on end). But when the doctor tells William he must rest his voice in order to cure his sore throat, he doesn’t know how to act. He wraps a big roll of gauze around his snout and slumps through town, dejected. It’s not very much fun for William, but the townspeople are ecstatic. No more roaring! No more scaring! But will William be able to keep it up? Though moments of growth are present (William does recognize that he shouldn’t scare others), readers may be taken aback by the unabashedly unapologetic prehistoric creature’s resistance to rehabilitation. Instead of reaching for a clever way to impart wisdom, John leans heavily on the excuse, “That’s what dinosaurs do.” William is a bully, with no hope of reformation.

It’s got witty illustrations, but it paints a pretty bleak picture for society. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: May 21, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-234319-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Feb. 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2019

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