Though the concept has plenty of promise, this is one title that deserves a quick extinction from your shelves.

A slapdash dino tale guaranteed to please some and infuriate others.

When a boy and his faithful dog, both bow-tie bedecked, receive an invitation to a dinosaur soiree, they don’t hesitate a jot (not even to make a close reading of the invitation that hints that they’re slated to appear on the menu). Indeed, the boy has a marvelous time until it becomes clear to him that the T. Rex sees him as munchable. After grabbing a gift bag and making a quick escape, the boy and pup finally feel safe—only to find that his party favor contains a surprise of the terrible-lizard variety. Jones misses multiple opportunities to name different dino types; he could easily exchange “Compsognathus” for “the little one,” for instance. Illustrator Parsons is equally culpable of slipshod craft, slipping in a wooly mammoth (which any canny 5-year-old will be quick to declare is not a dinosaur, nor even of the same era) and a Stegosaurus with the neck of an Apatosaurus. Given the missteps, it’s hard to say whether the “Chef Alfonsaurus” working the grill is a joke or a misspelled Allosaurus.

Though the concept has plenty of promise, this is one title that deserves a quick extinction from your shelves. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4677-6313-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Andersen Press USA

Review Posted Online: Nov. 10, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2014


A stocking stuffer par excellence, just right for dishing up with milk and cookies.

Pigeon finds something better to drive than some old bus.

This time it’s Santa delivering the fateful titular words, and with a “Ho. Ho. Whoa!” the badgering begins: “C’mon! Where’s your holiday spirit? It would be a Christmas MIRACLE! Don’t you want to be part of a Christmas miracle…?” Pigeon is determined: “I can do Santa stuff!” Like wrapping gifts (though the accompanying illustration shows a rather untidy present), delivering them (the image of Pigeon attempting to get an oversize sack down a chimney will have little ones giggling), and eating plenty of cookies. Alas, as Willems’ legion of young fans will gleefully predict, not even Pigeon’s by-now well-honed persuasive powers (“I CAN BE JOLLY!”) will budge the sleigh’s large and stinky reindeer guardian. “BAH. Also humbug.” In the typically minimalist art, the frustrated feathered one sports a floppily expressive green and red elf hat for this seasonal addition to the series—but then discards it at the end for, uh oh, a pair of bunny ears. What could Pigeon have in mind now? “Egg delivery, anyone?”

A stocking stuffer par excellence, just right for dishing up with milk and cookies. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2023

ISBN: 9781454952770

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Union Square Kids

Review Posted Online: Sept. 12, 2023


From the Here I Come! series

Effectively captures the excitement surrounding Valentine’s Day.

A collection of poems follows a group of elementary school students as they prepare for and celebrate Valentine’s Day.

One student starts the day by carefully choosing clothing in pink, purple, or red, while a family kicks off the morning with a breakfast of red, heart-shaped pancakes. At school, children create valentines until party time finally arrives with lots of yummy treats. The students give valentines to their school friends, of course, but we also see one child making a “special delivery” to a pet, a stuffed animal, family members, and even the crossing guard. The poems also extend the Valentine’s celebration to the community park, where other couples—some older, one that appears to be same-sex—are struck by cupid’s “magical love arrows.” Note the child running away: “Blech!” Not everyone wants to “end up in love!!!” But the spread devoted to Valentine’s jokes will please readers more interested in humor than in romance and inspire children to create their own jokes. To make the celebration complete, the last pages of the book contain stickers and a double-sided “BEE MINE!” valentine that readers can, with adult help, cut out. Cheery and kid-friendly, the poems can be read independently or from cover to cover as a full story. The cartoonish illustrations include lots of hearts and emphasize the growing Valentine’s Day excitement, depicting a diverse classroom that includes students who use wheelchairs. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Effectively captures the excitement surrounding Valentine’s Day. (Picture-book poetry. 4-6)

Pub Date: Dec. 27, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-38717-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: Oct. 11, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2022

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