Young readers who think the dinosaurs are all extinct will appreciate this truthful revelation. Well, truth-y, anyway.

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THE TRUTH ABOUT DINOSAURS

Chickens are descended from dinosaurs, and here’s a chicken with a family photo album to prove it.

First the chuffed chicken—or “Gallus gallus domesticus” to a skeptical unseen narrator—opens the album to snapshots of “The Velociraptor Family” to point out similar feet and feathers, then goes on to more distant relatives such as the Iguanodons, the Stegosaurs (“We look a lot alike, don’t you think?”), and the Triceratops clan. Following views of a falling asteroid and other prehistoric catastrophes, the proud pullet struts off to clamber atop a huge egg…only to flee in panic when it hatches out not a “cute little Triceratops chicken” or some other safe playmate but a toothy T. Rex. In his cartoon illustrations van Genechten doesn’t try for realistic detail but captures “Mommy Loci and Daddy Rapt” rolling past on a stone-wheeled tandem bike, plasters each album leaf with droll captions (“Our first Diplodo-kiss”), and sets up the climactic visual punchline with an earlier portrait of drooling cousin Rex. The egg appears from nowhere in the story, but something very like it is visible in an endpaper gallery of marbled-paper dino eggs. Actual information is included in the form of dates (all B.C.) and (inexplicably) “tickets” scrapbooked into the pages with each dino’s weight in pounds.

Young readers who think the dinosaurs are all extinct will appreciate this truthful revelation. Well, truth-y, anyway. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-60537-423-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Clavis

Review Posted Online: June 25, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2018

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Iguano-don’t bother.

PLAYTIME & MEALTIME

From the Iggy Iguanadon series

A little dinosaur navigates friendships and new foods in this early reader.

In “Playtime,” the first of this volume’s two stories, Mama tells Iggy that he’s to have a play date with Murka Macrosaur. Iggy’s afraid that she’ll be into girly things like princesses, but instead the two try a variety of different outdoor activities before settling on a ring toss that utilizes Triceratops Murka’s pointy nose. “Mealtime” sees Iggy eyeing a dinner of ferns with great suspicion. He’d much rather eat flowers, but even after Papa says he can’t have them until he tries his ferns, it takes Grandpa’s subtle intervention to convince the young dino to attempt something new. An opening key ranks the text as Level 2, defined as “Reading With Help.” With such words as Iguanodon, tagalong, Macrosaur, and triceratops on the first nine pages alone, that help will be sorely needed, especially for young readers who don’t already know their dinosaur names. Elegant writing does not mitigate this problem (“But Murka gets stuck in somersaults, the same as all triceratops”). Meanwhile, cumbersome, inexpressive art does little to distract from the text, and the absence of outlines around the uniformly green dinos makes compositions where bodies overlap particularly confusing. Finally, this may be set in the Cretaceous, but what really feels ancient are elements like an apron-wearing mom, a father as disciplinarian, and a grandfather who smokes a pipe. Companion title Bath Time & Bedtime publishes simultaneously.

Iguano-don’t bother. (Early reader. 5-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-8075-3642-1

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Whitman

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2020

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Definitely a rousingly rumbly ramble, but the seams are rough enough to trip over.

DINOSONG

Three young dinosaurs enjoy a percussive prehistoric perambulation.

Modeled on their Watersong (2017) McCanna pairs a text composed nearly exclusively of sound-effect words to Smythe’s bright and sprightly views of a triceratops, an ankylosaurus, and a generic sauropod, all sporting smiles, googly eyes, and hides in glowing hues. They cross a log over a stream, lumber through a rocky landscape as thunder rumbles, and tumble into a dark cave to escape the eruption of a nearby volcano. Unlike the previous outing, the sounds sometimes seem oddly unsuited to the action on the page. It’s hard to figure, for instance, how “clank clack // crinkle crackle / clunk” sounds like an ankylosaurus rolling down a steep hill, or “Bang bowl / clang roll” evokes a boulder doing the same. (Maybe the author had a storyline involving robots in mind and the illustrator took an unexpected turn?) Still, there’s never a dull moment, until the cave opens out at its other end to reveal parental dinos in a peaceful setting: Ahh, “Safe and sound.” The author suddenly turns voluble, adding a closing page of remarks about dinosaurs, magma, the three kinds of rocks, what paleontologists do, and other scattered topics at least tangentially related to the mise en scène.

Definitely a rousingly rumbly ramble, but the seams are rough enough to trip over. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5344-3002-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Paula Wiseman/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: April 12, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2020

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