A most excellent adventure, with more (Hint: Can you say “Aaarrrgh!”?) to come.

T. REX TIME MACHINE

DINOS IN DE-NILE

A feckless pair of time-traveling T. Rexes make a stopover in ancient Egypt.

Between the burning-hot sands and the crocodile-infested river, it’s shaping up to be a bummer of an outing—until young Tut happens along and, mistaking one of the dinos for Sobek, god of the Nile, declares himself a fanboy. From then on it’s all parties and feasting aboard the royal yacht, with tours of landmarks ranging from the Library of Alexandria (“And this is where I check out all your comic books”) to the Sphinx (“a practical joke that got out of hand”). This goes on until, that is, the extraterrestrials who “come down every couple of weeks to work on that triangle project” catch sight of the opportunistic visitors and dash the divinity bit with some Cretaceous Era selfies. Uh oh, time to jump back into the time machine for a quick, random getaway. Next stop (as the final scene suggests) is definitely not Kansas. Chapman floats blocky figures of the voracious visitors, their diversely brown human hosts, and hairless blue ETs clad in uniforms strongly reminiscent of Star Trek’s against very simple, often monochromatic backgrounds, leaving plenty of space for gags and banter. He also slips in an easter egg, having the real Sobek and archenemy Drought duke it out in a minicomic printed inside the dust jacket.

A most excellent adventure, with more (Hint: Can you say “Aaarrrgh!”?) to come. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4521-6155-6

Page Count: 44

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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Formulaic but not stale…even if it does mine previous topical material rather than expand it.

HOW DO DINOSAURS SHOW GOOD MANNERS?

From the How Do Dinosaurs…? series

A guide to better behavior—at home, on the playground, in class, and in the library.

Serving as a sort of overview for the series’ 12 previous exercises in behavior modeling, this latest outing opens with a set of badly behaving dinos, identified in an endpaper key and also inconspicuously in situ. Per series formula, these are paired to leading questions like “Does she spit out her broccoli onto the floor? / Does he shout ‘I hate meat loaf!’ while slamming the door?” (Choruses of “NO!” from young audiences are welcome.) Midway through, the tone changes (“No, dinosaurs don’t”), and good examples follow to the tune of positive declarative sentences: “They wipe up the tables and vacuum the floors. / They share all the books and they never slam doors,” etc. Teague’s customary, humongous prehistoric crew, all depicted in exact detail and with wildly flashy coloration, fill both their spreads and their human-scale scenes as their human parents—no same-sex couples but some are racially mixed, and in one the man’s the cook—join a similarly diverse set of sibs and other children in either disapprobation or approving smiles. All in all, it’s a well-tested mix of oblique and prescriptive approaches to proper behavior as well as a lighthearted way to play up the use of “please,” “thank you,” and even “I’ll help when you’re hurt.”

Formulaic but not stale…even if it does mine previous topical material rather than expand it. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 20, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-338-36334-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Blue Sky/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2020

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Tried and true, both in content and formula.

HOW DO DINOSAURS SAY GOODBYE?

From the How Do Dinosaurs…? series

Parting—of the temporary rather than permanent kind—is the latest topic to be dino-sorted in this venerable series’ 14th outing.

Nobody dies and the series is showing no signs of flagging, so reading anything ominous into the title is overthinking it. Instead, Teague and Yolen once again treat readers to a succession of outsized, gaily patterned dinosaurs throwing tantrums or acting out, this time as dad packs up for a business trip or even just sets off to work, grandparents pause at the door for goodbyes, mom drops her offspring off at school on a first day, parents take a date night, or a moving van pulls up to the house. Per series formula, the tone switches partway through when bad behavior gives way to (suggested) better: “They tell all the grown-ups / just how they are feeling. / It helps right away / for fast dinosaur healing.” Hugs, kisses, and a paper heart might also be more constructive responses than weeping, clinging, and making mayhem. Dinosaurian pronouns mostly alternate between he and she until switching to the generic their in the last part. In the art, the human cast mixes figures with different racial presentations and the date-night parents are an interracial couple, but there is no evident sign of same-gender or other nonnormative domestic situations.

Tried and true, both in content and formula. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 28, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-338-36335-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

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