Next book


From the Thunder and Cluck series

Droll dino fare for the lower reaches of the format’s audience.

Prehistoric prey and predator reach an accord in this graphic kickoff for fledgling readers.

Opening with a primer on graphic visual conventions and how to read panels in order, the tale introduces Thunder, a humongous theropod, and tiny, birdlike Cluck. From their first encounter, the latter, refusing to flee and seemingly undisturbed by all the roaring and tooth gnashing, launches a persistent campaign to winkle an admission of friendship from the former. In cartoon scenes of one to three big panels per page, Thunder’s indignant “That is not how this goes!” evolves in stages into a grumpy admission of defeat: “Something tells me hanging out with you will be…interesting.” If the vocabulary at times seems a bit advanced for the elemental art and plotline, it’s mostly spread out into easily digestible bits punctuated by wordless panels and more roaring. Many of Thompson’s panels are vertical, emphasizing the difference between burly, toothy orange-and-purple Thunder and scrawny Cluck, whom Thunder could easily swallow whole without noticing—but doesn’t. As unlikely friends go, this isn’t the weirdest pairing—trailing, for instance, William Steig’s Amos & Boris (1971) or Salina Yoon’s Penguin and Pinecone (2012)—but it’s extreme enough for even very young children to see the contrast as comical. (This book was reviewed digitally with 9-by-12-inch double-page spreads viewed at 80% of actual size.)

Droll dino fare for the lower reaches of the format’s audience. (Graphic early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: June 29, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5344-8652-2

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Simon Spotlight

Review Posted Online: March 30, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2021

Next book


Sturdy split pages allow readers to create their own inventive combinations from among a handful of prehistoric critters. Hard on the heels of Flip-O-Saurus (2010) drops this companion gallery, printed on durable boards and offering opportunities to mix and match body thirds of eight prehistoric mammals, plus a fish and a bird, to create such portmanteau creatures as a “Gas-Lo-Therium,” or a “Mega-Tor-Don.” The “Mam-Nyc-Nia” places the head of a mammoth next to the wings and torso of an Icaronycteris (prehistoric bat) and the hind legs of a Macrauchenia (a llamalike creature with a short trunk), to amusing effect. Drehsen adds first-person captions on the versos, which will also mix and match to produce chuckles: “Do you like my nose? It’s actually a short trunk…” “I may remind you of an ostrich, because my wings aren’t built for flying…” “My tail looks like a dolphin’s.” With but ten layers to flip, young paleontologists will run through most of the permutations in just a few minutes, but Ball’s precisely detailed ink-and-watercolor portraits of each animal formally posed against plain cream colored backdrops may provide a slightly more enduring draw. A silhouette key on the front pastedown includes a pronunciation guide and indicates scale. Overall, a pleasing complement to more substantive treatments. (Novelty nonfiction. 6-8)

Pub Date: May 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-7892-1099-9

Page Count: 22

Publisher: Abbeville Kids

Review Posted Online: April 4, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2011

Next book


From the How Do Dinosaurs…? series

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

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. 17, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2020

Close Quickview