An appealing approach, as ever filled with humor and common sense.

HOW DO DINOSAURS LEARN TO READ?

From the How Do Dinosaurs…? series

In the latest addition to the long-running, bestselling series, Yolen and Teague’s rascally dinosaurs learn to read and enjoy books despite their sometimes-inappropriate antics.

Yolen’s signature, inquiry-based rhyming text begins with the titular query, “How does a dinosaur / learn how to read?” In response, a series of rhetorical questions are posed, each indicating an unsuitable behavior or reaction when a new reader might be struggling, frustrated, and discouraged. “Does he use his new book / as a shovel or bat? // Play fetch with the dog? / Throw books at the cat?” Silly (“jump on the book”), sometimes rage-filled (“have a big hissy / when reading skills fail”) conduct eventually leads to the inevitable series of contradictions. “No—she’s kind to each book, / to the cover and pages. / She reads very carefully. / Never has rages.” Respectful care for books is emphasized so that reading a good story can be enjoyed again and again with calm, determined patience. Humorously exaggerated depictions of nine different angry, irritated, ill-tempered (and enormous) dinosaurs quickly revert to happy, willing, and satisfied expressions (highlighted in the endpapers) as new readers succeed to end the day peacefully, each falling asleep with a book in bed. A practical addendum offers sensible strategies for caregivers to coach their new readers following parental read-alouds, including learning letter sounds, sounding out words, using picture cues, repetition, and rhyming words.

An appealing approach, as ever filled with humor and common sense. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: June 26, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-338-23301-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Blue Sky/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: March 18, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 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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