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A LITTLE BIT OF DINOSAUR!

A science-centric winner, especially for young dinosaur lovers.

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    Best Books Of 2020

An atom of calcium makes the journey from dinosaur bone to child’s body in this entertaining tale about the conservation of mass.

When the narrator announces to a brown-haired, blue-eyed child: “You have a little bit of Tyrannosaurus rex in your jawbone,” the child looks astonished. It is, the narrator explains, the child’s mother’s fault. But how did the bit of dinosaur get there? The narrator guides the child—and the reader—through the saga of a dinosaur’s living, dying, and being buried long ago. As rain erodes both the rock burying the dinosaur and a little bit of the dinosaur’s toe bone, calcium from the bones washes into the river. From there, the water irrigates a corn field, the corn is fed to a cow, and the cow makes milk, which becomes cheese, which the child’s mother purchases for lunch. The calcium becomes part of the child’s bones—and will one day again return to the cycle to perhaps become calcium in the spine of a blue whale. Hutcheson and Pattison introduce difficult science concepts in simple, accessible language. Although death is a part of this cycle, it’s handled in a scientific and not scary way. Joven’s comical, retro, and ingenious illustrations—featuring bright colors as well as a cow that rides inside a tractor and has a milk faucet inside her body—are brimming with kid appeal.

A science-centric winner, especially for young dinosaur lovers.

Pub Date: Feb. 9, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-62944-153-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Mims House

Review Posted Online: Sept. 18, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2020

MAMA BUILT A LITTLE NEST

A good bet for the youngest bird-watchers.

Echoing the meter of “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” Ward uses catchy original rhymes to describe the variety of nests birds create.

Each sweet stanza is complemented by a factual, engaging description of the nesting habits of each bird. Some of the notes are intriguing, such as the fact that the hummingbird uses flexible spider web to construct its cup-shaped nest so the nest will stretch as the chicks grow. An especially endearing nesting behavior is that of the emperor penguin, who, with unbelievable patience, incubates the egg between his tummy and his feet for up to 60 days. The author clearly feels a mission to impart her extensive knowledge of birds and bird behavior to the very young, and she’s found an appealing and attractive way to accomplish this. The simple rhymes on the left page of each spread, written from the young bird’s perspective, will appeal to younger children, and the notes on the right-hand page of each spread provide more complex factual information that will help parents answer further questions and satisfy the curiosity of older children. Jenkins’ accomplished collage illustrations of common bird species—woodpecker, hummingbird, cowbird, emperor penguin, eagle, owl, wren—as well as exotics, such as flamingoes and hornbills, are characteristically naturalistic and accurate in detail.

A good bet for the youngest bird-watchers.   (author’s note, further resources) (Informational picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 18, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4424-2116-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Jan. 3, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2014

THE HUGASAURUS

Gently models kindness and respect—positive behavior that can be applied daily.

A group of young “dinosauruses” go out into the world on their own.

A fuchsia little Hugasaurus and her Pappysaur (both of whom resemble Triceratops) have never been apart before, but Hugasaurus happily heads off with lunchbox in hand and “wonder in her heart” to make new friends. The story has a first-day-of-school feeling, but Hugasaurus doesn’t end up in a formal school environment; rather, she finds herself on a playground with other little prehistoric creatures, though no teacher or adult seems to be around. At first, the new friends laugh and play. But Hugasaurus’ pals begin to squabble, and play comes to a halt. As she wonders what to do, a fuzzy platypus playmate asks some wise questions (“What…would your Pappy say to do? / What makes YOU feel better?”), and Hugasaurus decides to give everyone a hug—though she remembers to ask permission first. Slowly, good humor is restored and play begins anew with promises to be slow to anger and, in general, to help create a kinder world. Short rhyming verses occasionally use near rhyme but also include fun pairs like ripples and double-triples. Featuring cozy illustrations of brightly colored creatures, the tale sends a strong message about appropriate and inappropriate ways to resolve conflict, the final pages restating the lesson plainly in a refrain that could become a classroom motto. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Gently models kindness and respect—positive behavior that can be applied daily. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Dec. 6, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-338-82869-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Orchard/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Sept. 27, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2022

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