A whimsical lesson in Mesozoic good manners, with an added treat for young STEM-winders.

BIGGER THAN YOU

Dinosaurs on the playground (and readers who might wish to join them) get schooled both in physics and in the pleasures of noncompetitive play.

Taking alternate ends of a log balanced on a round rock, a succession of ever larger dinos asserts supremacy over the playmate on the opposite end, smugly crowing “I’m bigger than you.” But the tantrum a bright red T. Rex throws after being outweighed by a brachiosaur brings a change of perspective in the form of a much-larger T. Rex: “And I’m your mother!” With parental help, the log is pushed so that only one end is elevated, thus converting it to a slide that puts all of the dinosaurs on the same footing. Using brushwork that evokes traditional East Asian ink drawings (according to the production note she uses Korean paper and paints), Kyung creates minimally detailed prehistoric scenes featuring a cast of slightly anthropomorphic but recognizable dinosaurs. They are all identified, along with size gradations ranging from “Big” through “Massive” and “Immense” to “Biggest,” in a closing gallery, which is followed by diagrams that explain, with a dollop of wry humor, the differences between a seesaw (“lever”) and a slide (“inclined plane”).

A whimsical lesson in Mesozoic good manners, with an added treat for young STEM-winders. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: July 31, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-268312-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: March 27, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2018

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Sugary uplift, shrink-wrapped for the masses.

HOW TO CATCH A LOVEOSAURUS

From the How To Catch… series

An elusive new quarry leads the How To Catch… kids on a merry chase through a natural history museum.

Taking at least a step away from the “hunters versus prey” vibe of previous entries in the popular series, the racially diverse group of young visitors dashes through various museum halls in pursuit of the eponymous dino—whose quest to “spread kindness and joy ’round the world” takes the form of a mildly tumultuous museum tour. In most of Elkerton’s overly sweet, color-saturated scenes, only portions of the Loveosaurus, who is purple and covered with pink hearts, are visible behind exhibits or lumbering off the page. But the children find small enticements left behind, from craft supplies to make cards for endangered species to pictures of smiley faces, candy heart–style personal notes (“You Rock!” “Give Hugs”), and, in the hall of medieval arms and armor, a sign urging them to “Be Honest Be Kind.” The somewhat heavy-handed lesson comes through loud and clear. “There’s a message, he wants us to think,” hints Walstead to clue in more obtuse readers…and concluding scenes of smiling people young and otherwise exchanging hugs and knuckle bumps, holding doors for a wheelchair rider, and dancing through clouds of sparkles indicate that they, at least, have gotten it. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Sugary uplift, shrink-wrapped for the masses. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Dec. 6, 2022

ISBN: 9781728268781

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sourcebooks Wonderland

Review Posted Online: Jan. 18, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2023

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Wins for compassion and for the refusal to let physical limitations hold one back.

TINY T. REX AND THE IMPOSSIBLE HUG

With such short arms, how can Tiny T. Rex give a sad friend a hug?

Fleck goes for cute in the simple, minimally detailed illustrations, drawing the diminutive theropod with a chubby turquoise body and little nubs for limbs under a massive, squared-off head. Impelled by the sight of stegosaurian buddy Pointy looking glum, little Tiny sets out to attempt the seemingly impossible, a comforting hug. Having made the rounds seeking advice—the dino’s pea-green dad recommends math; purple, New Age aunt offers cucumber juice (“That is disgusting”); red mom tells him that it’s OK not to be able to hug (“You are tiny, but your heart is big!”), and blue and yellow older sibs suggest practice—Tiny takes up the last as the most immediately useful notion. Unfortunately, the “tree” the little reptile tries to hug turns out to be a pterodactyl’s leg. “Now I am falling,” Tiny notes in the consistently self-referential narrative. “I should not have let go.” Fortunately, Tiny lands on Pointy’s head, and the proclamation that though Rexes’ hugs may be tiny, “I will do my very best because you are my very best friend” proves just the mood-lightening ticket. “Thank you, Tiny. That was the biggest hug ever.” Young audiences always find the “clueless grown-ups” trope a knee-slapper, the overall tone never turns preachy, and Tiny’s instinctive kindness definitely puts him at (gentle) odds with the dinky dino star of Bob Shea’s Dinosaur Vs. series.

Wins for compassion and for the refusal to let physical limitations hold one back. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: March 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4521-7033-6

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: Nov. 12, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2018

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