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From the Hello, World! Kids' Guides series

A bland also-ran with anemic art.

A roundup of, mostly, the usual (extinct) suspects with basic facts to go along.

McDonald sets the scene with looks at the three periods of the Mesozoic era plus a diverse trio of generic paleontologists at work. She then goes on to introduce 18 dinosaurs, mostly paired on the page or spread but not always to scale—some in brief, others with fact boxes and somewhat longer descriptions—from the very early Nyasasaurus parringtoni to the semiaquatic Spinosaurus. Young dinophiles may enjoy chewing over the occasional discussion question (“Would you rather have a long neck or a spiked tail?”), but those who relish scenes of rending and tearing in their prehistoric fare will be disappointed by the bland art, which presents its toothy subjects in static poses, rendered with pale patterns and tones (except for the multihued plates running along the back of Stegosaurus, the name banners outshine the creatures they identify) and often set against minimally detailed natural settings. A set of young museum visitors clustering around a skeleton in the final scene is racially diverse. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A bland also-ran with anemic art. (sources, further reading) (Informational picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 7, 2023

ISBN: 978-0-593-56819-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Oct. 25, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2022

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Sad indeed, but a little bland—though less traumatic in the telling than the stories of Jumbo or the Faithful Elephants...

In this true tale of an elephant that crushed a keeper after peacefully giving zoo visitors rides for nearly 40 years, Fenton tones the drama down to near nonexistence (for better or worse).

Arriving at the Melbourne Zoo as a youngster, Queenie began giving rides in 1905. She became such a fixture that children wrote her letters, her birthday was celebrated each year, and she even marched in the Centenary Floral Parade in 1934. After creating an endearing but not anthropomorphic portrait of her pachyderm protagonist, the author, warning that “Queenie’s story has a sad ending,” goes on to explain that even though the 1944 killing might have been just an accident, “the gentle Indian elephant was put to sleep.” Furthermore, she was never replaced; the elephants in today’s zoo occupy a habitat where they can “do just what elephants like to do.” Neither the incident itself nor Queenie’s end are specifically described or depicted, and Gouldthorpe’s illustrations, which look like old, hand-tinted photographs, put a nostalgic distance between viewers and events.

Sad indeed, but a little bland—though less traumatic in the telling than the stories of Jumbo or the Faithful Elephants (1988) killed at the Tokyo Zoo. (Informational picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: June 11, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-7636-6375-9

Page Count: 25

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: April 30, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2013

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A winning, and necessary, update to Kathleen Zoehfeld’s Terrible Tyrannosaurs (2001, illustrated by Lucia Washburn).

Tyrannosaurus rex poses with 10 recently discovered relatives in this toothy portrait gallery.

Speaking as “Dr. Steve,” co-author Brusatte—paleontologist and tyrannosaur lover—explains to young dinomanes how the titular tyranno (formally dubbed Qianzhousaurus, nicknamed for its long nose) was unearthed and reconstructed before going on to introduce nine other 21st-century discoveries. Each comes with a general description, a “fact file” of basic statistics, a collective timeline that neatly groups contemporaries, and a realistically posed and rendered individual portrait in a natural setting. Following a simple but effective activity involving chalk, a tape measure, and a very large expanse of concrete, an equally cogent infographic at the end illustrates size extremes in this prehistoric clan by juxtaposing images of a human child, a like-sized Kileskus, a full size T. Rex, and a (slightly smaller) school bus. The dinos display a wide range of coloration and skin and feather patterns as well as distinctive crests or other physical features, but Dr. Steve, who is white, is the only individualized human figure until a closing album of snapshot photos.

A winning, and necessary, update to Kathleen Zoehfeld’s Terrible Tyrannosaurs (2001, illustrated by Lucia Washburn). (pronunciation guide, glossary, museum list) (Informational picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 7, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-249093-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 25, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2017

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