THE MOST AMAZING DINOSAUR

In the prolific Stevenson's latest, a rat on the road gains temporary shelter, new friends, and new destinations in a natural-history museum. One snowy night Wilfred finds his way into an enormous stone building—recognizable as New York's American Museum of Natural History—and meets, among the dioramas and dinosaur fossils, several living residents, including an owl named Pritchett, Harry the snail, and a skunk, Buxton. Cautioning against attracting the attention of Thrawl, the irascible museum director, Buxton, takes Wilfred on a quick behind-the-scenes walkabout, from cafeteria to Pritchett's private museum of found objects in the attic. In his characteristic sketchy, (seemingly) casual watercolors, Stevenson effectively captures the drama and intricacy of the exhibits. His animal characters change relative size from scene to scene, which here is not the flaw it would be in most other illustrators' work, but an effective technique for viewing the museum's treasures from a child's eye level. Wilfred and his companions go from being fugitives to “Special Assistants” after they save Thrawl's job by reassembling a collapsed dinosaur (in a hilariously balletic posture), but come spring, Wilfred is off on his bicycle, with Harry in his pocket, to see real whales and elephants and bears. Kindle interest in an outing with this appealing glimpse of a museum after hours. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: May 31, 2000

ISBN: 0-688-16432-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Greenwillow

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2000

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A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends

WAITING IS NOT EASY!

From the Elephant & Piggie series

Gerald the elephant learns a truth familiar to every preschooler—heck, every human: “Waiting is not easy!”

When Piggie cartwheels up to Gerald announcing that she has a surprise for him, Gerald is less than pleased to learn that the “surprise is a surprise.” Gerald pumps Piggie for information (it’s big, it’s pretty, and they can share it), but Piggie holds fast on this basic principle: Gerald will have to wait. Gerald lets out an almighty “GROAN!” Variations on this basic exchange occur throughout the day; Gerald pleads, Piggie insists they must wait; Gerald groans. As the day turns to twilight (signaled by the backgrounds that darken from mauve to gray to charcoal), Gerald gets grumpy. “WE HAVE WASTED THE WHOLE DAY!…And for WHAT!?” Piggie then gestures up to the Milky Way, which an awed Gerald acknowledges “was worth the wait.” Willems relies even more than usual on the slightest of changes in posture, layout and typography, as two waiting figures can’t help but be pretty static. At one point, Piggie assumes the lotus position, infuriating Gerald. Most amusingly, Gerald’s elephantine groans assume weighty physicality in spread-filling speech bubbles that knock Piggie to the ground. And the spectacular, photo-collaged images of the Milky Way that dwarf the two friends makes it clear that it was indeed worth the wait.

A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends . (Early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-9957-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Nov. 5, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2014

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MERCY WATSON TO THE RESCUE

Hilarity and hijinks abound in this tale about a voracious swine with an overweening yen for hot buttered toast. Mercy is the beloved pet pig of the doting Mr. and Mrs. Watson. When Mercy sneaks into her owner’s bed one night, her added heft causes the bed to fall partway through the ceiling. Although the besotted Watsons assume Mercy is trotting off to seek help, the only search and rescue Mercy seems to care about involves butter and hot bread. In her quest for some midnight munchies, Mercy awakens the crotchety neighbor. Wild chases and mayhem ensue before help arrives in the guise of firefighters. DiCamillo aims for over-the-top fun with her tale of porcine shenanigans, and Van Dusen’s gouache illustrations provide a comical counterpart to the text. The glossy paintings, with exaggerated caricatures and lively colors, complement DiCamillo’s tone, although the scowling, lantern-jawed visage of the crabby neighbor borders on the unpleasant. With vocabulary that may prove too challenging for a novice, DiCamillo’s tale is best suited for those ready to move up. However, the pacing and the action easily make it right for shared reading. (Fiction. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2005

ISBN: 0-7636-2270-2

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2005

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