An appealing story for dinophiles and library skeptics.

Mrs. Barker’s third grade class encounters a surprise during a trip to the library in Allen’s picture book.

Alyssa loathes the library, and she’s skeptical when her teacher, Mrs. Barker, asserts that there are dinosaurs there. During a class visit to the library, Mrs. Barker pulls out a book about the prehistoric creatures. Alyssa initially scoffs at this, but when the teacher opens the book, a stegosaurus leaps out and begins to eat the library’s plants. Each time Mrs. Barker turns the page, a different herbivorous dino emerges to frolic with the kids. Alyssa wants to try it herself, so she grabs the book—and accidentally unleashes a velociraptor and a Tyrannosaurus rex. The children panic, but Mrs. Barker softly closes the book and the creatures vanish. A smiling Alyssa comments, “Next time, maybe you could pick a book on koalas.” Cordova’s full-color illustrations are lively and vibrant; even the dinosaurs’ faces are expressive. The various character have a range of skin tones; Alyssa’s is portrayed as pale white; Mrs. Barker’s is depicted as brown. The text would have benefited from more information about the dinosaurs that appear (including how to pronounce their names), but the story is playful and entertaining enough that readers may be enticed to look them up for themselves—at their local library.

An appealing story for dinophiles and library skeptics.

Pub Date: Sept. 20, 2023

ISBN: 9798218197698

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Self

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2023


Visually accomplished but marred by stereotypical cultural depictions.

Ellis, known for her illustrations for Colin Meloy’s Wildwood series, here riffs on the concept of “home.”

Shifting among homes mundane and speculative, contemporary and not, Ellis begins and ends with views of her own home and a peek into her studio. She highlights palaces and mansions, but she also takes readers to animal homes and a certain famously folkloric shoe (whose iconic Old Woman manages a passel of multiethnic kids absorbed in daring games). One spread showcases “some folks” who “live on the road”; a band unloads its tour bus in front of a theater marquee. Ellis’ compelling ink and gouache paintings, in a palette of blue-grays, sepia and brick red, depict scenes ranging from mythical, underwater Atlantis to a distant moonscape. Another spread, depicting a garden and large building under connected, transparent domes, invites readers to wonder: “Who in the world lives here? / And why?” (Earth is seen as a distant blue marble.) Some of Ellis’ chosen depictions, oddly juxtaposed and stripped of any historical or cultural context due to the stylized design and spare text, become stereotypical. “Some homes are boats. / Some homes are wigwams.” A sailing ship’s crew seems poised to land near a trio of men clad in breechcloths—otherwise unidentified and unremarked upon.

Visually accomplished but marred by stereotypical cultural depictions. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 24, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-7636-6529-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Nov. 17, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2014


Although the love comes shining through, the text often confuses in straining for patterned simplicity.

A collection of parental wishes for a child.

It starts out simply enough: two children run pell-mell across an open field, one holding a high-flying kite with the line “I wish you more ups than downs.” But on subsequent pages, some of the analogous concepts are confusing or ambiguous. The line “I wish you more tippy-toes than deep” accompanies a picture of a boy happily swimming in a pool. His feet are visible, but it's not clear whether he's floating in the deep end or standing in the shallow. Then there's a picture of a boy on a beach, his pockets bulging with driftwood and colorful shells, looking frustrated that his pockets won't hold the rest of his beachcombing treasures, which lie tantalizingly before him on the sand. The line reads: “I wish you more treasures than pockets.” Most children will feel the better wish would be that he had just the right amount of pockets for his treasures. Some of the wordplay, such as “more can than knot” and “more pause than fast-forward,” will tickle older readers with their accompanying, comical illustrations. The beautifully simple pictures are a sweet, kid- and parent-appealing blend of comic-strip style and fine art; the cast of children depicted is commendably multiethnic.

Although the love comes shining through, the text often confuses in straining for patterned simplicity. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4521-2699-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: Feb. 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2015

Close Quickview