If the formula is pat by now, it’s still effective; who can resist when dinosaur buddies share a sincere, well-earned hug?...

HOW DO DINOSAURS STAY FRIENDS?

From the How Do Dinosaurs…? series

The 10th dinosaur outing for Yolen and Teague playfully addresses the minefield of school friendships, as always cleverly subbing in outsized dinosaur antics for the gigantic feelings in every little kid's body.

Beginning with the question, "How does a dinosaur keep his best friend / when a terrible fight just might signal the end?" more than half the book is made up of dinosaurs behaving badly (and comically). They egg doors, throw lunchboxes into lakes, lie to teachers, and even "write on the blackboard a very bad name" ("DILONG IS STUPID": truly not nice). The scenes of hostility are writ large in two-page spreads, each labeled dinosaur (Leptoceratops, Masiakasaurus, etc.) breathing again in skillfully textured detail and with humorously angry or hurt expressions. Human kids and teachers look on, mortified that dinosaurs could behave so...well, human. The resolution, of course, occurs when the dinosaurs instead put their best claws forward, exchanging notes of apology, sharing toys, and making special cookie deliveries. Even giant beasts who get into fights learn, "There is always a way to make everything right." If that isn't enough to convey the message, the endpapers feature dinosaur duos having the best time since prehistoric days as they ride bikes, fly kites, or share pizza, among other activities.

If the formula is pat by now, it’s still effective; who can resist when dinosaur buddies share a sincere, well-earned hug? (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Feb. 23, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-545-82934-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Blue Sky/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Nov. 11, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2015

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Both beautiful and inspiring as graduation gift or guide to life.

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BE YOU!

An inspirational picture book offers life advice for readers who want to be themselves.

Replete with sparkling, often quirky illustrations of children living their best lives, this book is a gorgeous guidebook for those seeking encouragement while encountering life’s challenges. The children featured—a racially diverse group ranging from infants to preschoolers—cheerfully navigate the various injunctions that flow through the text: “Be curious.…Be adventurous.…Be persistent.…Be kind.” What is remarkable about the book is that even though the instructions and the brief sentences explaining them are at times vague, the illustrations expand on them in ways readers will find endearing and uplifting. Those depicting painful or challenging moments are especially effective. The “Be persistent” double-page spread shows a child in a boat on stormy seas; it’s rich with deep blues as it emphasizes the energy of wind and rain and struggle in the face of challenge. Together with the accompanying repeated phrase “Keep going, never stop. Keep going, never stop. Keep going, never stop,” this spread arrests readers. By contrast, the “Be kind. Be understanding” spread simply presents two children’s faces, one cast in blue and the other in gold, but the empathy that Reynolds conveys is similarly captivating. While there is no plot to pull readers through the pages, the book provides rich fodder for caregivers to use as teachable moments, both informally and in classroom settings.

Both beautiful and inspiring as graduation gift or guide to life. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-338-57231-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Orchard/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Nov. 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

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A sweet, tender and charming experience to read aloud or together.

HEY, DUCK!

A clueless duckling tries to make a new friend.

He is confused by this peculiar-looking duck, who has a long tail, doesn’t waddle and likes to be alone. No matter how explicitly the creature denies he is a duck and announces that he is a cat, the duckling refuses to acknowledge the facts.  When this creature expresses complete lack of interest in playing puddle stomp, the little ducking goes off and plays on his own. But the cat is not without remorse for rejecting an offered friendship. Of course it all ends happily, with the two new friends enjoying each other’s company. Bramsen employs brief sentences and the simplest of rhymes to tell this slight tale. The two heroes are meticulously drawn with endearing, expressive faces and body language, and their feathers and fur appear textured and touchable. Even the detailed tree bark and grass seem three-dimensional. There are single- and double-page spreads, panels surrounded by white space and circular and oval frames, all in a variety of eye-pleasing juxtapositions. While the initial appeal is solidly visual, young readers will get the gentle message that friendship is not something to take for granted but is to be embraced with open arms—or paws and webbed feet.

A sweet, tender and charming experience to read aloud or together. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 22, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-375-86990-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Nov. 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2012

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