Five-star fare for librovores.




From T. rex and like “mega carnivores” down to bacterial “trashivores,” everyone is a guest—and also on the menu—at this paleo-pantry.

With a chatty microraptor on her forearm, the white, bespectacled Bonner (When Dinos Dawned, Mammals Got Munched, and Pterosaurs Took Flight, 2012, etc.) squires readers through teeming scenes of dino diners, with pauses for quick Q-and-A’s with paleontologists about fossil evidence, revealing close-ups of teeth and jaw structures, and other informative sidelights. Properly noting that dinosaurs shared their era with reptiles, mammals, and even true birds (plus amphibians like the evocatively named Beelzebufo) who all had appetites too, she presents her subjects in painted collectives by preferred diet. Where the usual “-vore” terminology doesn’t serve, she coins her own to give “sunivores” (aka “plants”), “dinovores” (including humans: Happy Thanksgiving!), and “detritivores” like fungi and earthworms their due. She also hides 18 tiny peanut-butter–and-jelly sandwiches for seek-and-find fun and adds visits to a “grossery store” stocked with carrion and a lush veggie market (“New! Flowering Plants!”). There are plenty of natural views of active but not gory chowing down. Following answers to the cogent if grammatically suspect question “Who Eats Who Today?” comes a full dessert, including a food web in a cake-shaped infographic, a “recipe” for photosynthesis, and a full tray of end matter aperitifs.

Five-star fare for librovores. (index, timelines, glossary) (Informational picture book. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 20, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4263-2339-3

Page Count: 48

Publisher: National Geographic Kids

Review Posted Online: July 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2016

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An alternative to the shelf full of picture-book biographies, for readers who may find Sheila Cole’s Dragon in the Cliff,...


Carved out and buffed up from historical records, an imagined account of the great fossil hunter’s early life and groundbreaking career.

Following an account of the lightning strike that killed several adults but spared the 15-month-old Mary, Kulling skips ahead to record the child’s deep delight at getting a rock hammer for her eighth birthday. Between that and Anning’s laborious extraction of a great ichthyosaur skeleton at age 12, in 1811, the author chronicles her sometimes-hazardous search for fossil ammonites and other “curiosities” (as they were then called) to sell as the family livelihood—first with her father and then, after his disabling accident and early death, largely alone. Period details of everyday life in Lyme Regis, both in the narrative and in Castrillón’s delicate illustrations, and embroidered encounters with rival fossil hunters and collectors flesh out the story; notes at the end wire together explanations of what fossils are with descriptions of some of Anning’s other discoveries and their subsequent histories. Though here at least she seems almost relieved to quit school at the earliest opportunity to pursue her vocation, Mary presents an admirable role model for her lively mind, independent spirit, and a continuing sense of wonder that drives her to chip away at nature’s mysteries.

An alternative to the shelf full of picture-book biographies, for readers who may find Sheila Cole’s Dragon in the Cliff, illustrated by T.C. Farrow (1991) hard to read or get. (bibliography) (Historical fiction. 9-11)

Pub Date: May 16, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-55498-898-3

Page Count: 156

Publisher: Groundwood

Review Posted Online: Feb. 1, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2017

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Twenty large, fossilized skeletons pose amid fleshed-out reconstructions of the originals and selected relatives in this dino gallery.

Though dark or atmospherically faded sepia backgrounds lend a superficial visual unity, the illustrations are all stock images, rendered in diverse styles and sometimes blurrily reproduced. Readers may wonder whether the author has even seen them, as the text and pictures are sometimes at odds. The painted portraits accompanying his suggestions that Gallimimus and Dromaeosaurus may have been feathered are bare-skinned, and he neglects to mention the pinions (or is that hair?) on a particularly colorful rendition of Leptoceratops. He also seems more focused on dropping scads of dino names (many of which are not in the index) than in systematically developing the title’s premise. He does explain the significance of large orbital and nasal cavities in fossil skulls, for instance, but not what “bony tendons” even are in one specimen or how an entire skeleton could be reconstructed for Pachycephalosaurus from just a skull. Also, he repeats information here, contradicts himself there, and presents different rationales for the belief that Iguanodon walked on two legs on consecutive spreads.

A dino flop. (timeline, glossary) (Nonfiction. 8-11)

Pub Date: July 15, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-77085-717-9

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Firefly

Review Posted Online: June 1, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2016

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