“Think about Velociraptor when you see birds run across the grass.” But look elsewhere for visuals that are out of the...



A colorful gallery of dinos and their relatives, made from paint-sprayed paper collage and paired to questions and comments in large type.

Originally published overseas as Big Noisy Book of Dinosaurs (2009), this version features rearranged illustrations and an abridged text that, for all its short, simple sentences, is still well-stocked with mouth-filling monikers. "Mamenchiasaurus was a huge plant eater.” “Carcharodontosaurus was a giant meat eater.” “Eoraptor was about the same size as a child like you.” The information is all standard-issue. Along with accurately indicating that pterosaurs and certain sea creatures were reptiles but not true dinosaurs, the author provides requisite explanations of how dinosaurs went extinct, how some became fossils, and how some had birdlike characteristics. The art just comes along for the ride. Colors look dull, animals occasionally look at one another but seldom interact, and poses are nearly all side views. There is little to no sense of scale. An image of Eoraptor is larger than the Brachiosaurus on the opposite page, a pile of poop nearly rivals an adjacent Diplodocus for bulk, and because Teckentrup (or the designer) fits multiple full or near-full bodies on each spread at various removes and with little detail, the giant dinos often don’t look all that big.

“Think about Velociraptor when you see birds run across the grass.” But look elsewhere for visuals that are out of the ordinary. (Informational picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-910126-52-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sterling

Review Posted Online: June 29, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2015

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Gift items for confirmed young enthusiasts, with a substantial but not wearisome informational load.


From the Smithsonian Young Explorers series

In lunchbox-style packaging, a booklet of dino facts and a prehistoric panorama are presented on both a folded poster and a jigsaw puzzle.

Strother devotes 10 of her 32 pages to ornithischian, or bird-hipped, dinosaurs (correctly noting that they are not the ancestors of modern birds). She also manages to survey the Mesozoic Era in general, introduce a few theropods, describe fossilization, and present up-to-date information about dinosaur colors and extinction theories. All of this is crammed onto thematic spreads with small paintings and photos of fossils or generic images of fleshed-out reconstructions in minimally detailed settings. Francis contributes a collective portrait of dinosaurs of diverse size and period posing together over a labeled timeline. This can be hung up and, as a 130-piece jigsaw, assembled. Also available from the same author and illustrator, and likewise in a round-corned box with a carrying handle and snap close, is Oceans, a densely populated dive into the deep.

Gift items for confirmed young enthusiasts, with a substantial but not wearisome informational load. (Informational novelty. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-62686-145-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Silver Dolphin

Review Posted Online: Oct. 6, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2014

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A bland but amiable iteration.


Yet another child learns that dinosaurs make exciting, if chancy, pets.

On the prowl for a pet, Danny walks past shop windows displaying puppies and kittens to enter the titular storefront…where “Mr. Ree, purveyor of prehistoric pets,” offers him any dino he might desire. Unfortunately his first pick, Diplodocus longus, eats half a ton of veggies per day; his second, Tyrannosaurus rex (“Ooh, brave choice”), is too, well, “drooly”; and later ones—unnamed but brightly patterned, smiling, and recognizably depicted in Brown’s cartoon scenes—prove likewise impractical or unsatisfactory. (Confirmed dinophiles might be able to tag the unidentified beasts, but there is no key for paleontological newbies.) Condon works the well-worn premise to a happy resolution, as the pet Danny finally brings home in a box turns out to be not an ordinary tortoise, as his mother thinks at first sight, but a spiky-tailed, tortoiselike Meiolania from the Middle Miocene, small enough to pick up…at first, anyway. Aside from a background figure in one scene, the human cast is uniformly white. José Carlos Andrés and Ana Sanfelippo’s Adopting a Dinosaur (2019), Jason Cockcroft’s How To Take Care of Your Dinosaur (2019), and Diego Vaisberg’s Dino (2018) are but three recent examples of the superior treatments available.

A bland but amiable iteration. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: April 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-84886-474-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Maverick Publishing

Review Posted Online: Dec. 18, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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