Though the rhymes are rather weak, this book does encourage pretend play, the backmatter is enlightening, and the diversity...

DINOSAUR RAP

On the tail of the Rappy the Raptor books, by Dan Gutman and illustrated by Tim Bowers (2015, etc.), comes this rapping, participatory look at the dinos that lived long ago.

“Come on everybody, shake a claw. / Let me hear you bellow. Let me hear you ROAR! / Let me see you jump and thump and tap. / Come and join in! Do the dinosaur rap!” This repeated refrain is illustrated with seven children who have cleverly dressed themselves to look like their favorite dinos. On subsequent pages, each child takes a turn introducing a dino and prompting readers to copy their actions: “There’s a Saltopus strutting, swaying to the beat, / Hopping and bopping and tapping his feet. / Tap your feet!” Other species include Shonisaurus, Apatosaurus, Stegosaurus, Triceratops, Pteranodon, and Tyrannosaurus rex. The rhymes are nothing to write home about, but Harter’s artwork uses vivid colors and patterns that pop off the pages. Her cartoonish dinos may not seem particularly realistic, but they are easy for youngsters to match with their own clothing and props. Harter’s children are notably diverse in many ways: only two are white, one sports glasses, another uses hearing aids, and a third uses a frame walker. Backmatter includes a paragraph about each species, a timeline and info about the eras of the dinosaurs, and blurbs about what happened to the dinos and how paleontologists learn about them.

Though the rhymes are rather weak, this book does encourage pretend play, the backmatter is enlightening, and the diversity is refreshing. (Picture book. 2-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-78285-301-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Barefoot Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 17, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2016

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A snore for all but the most avid toddler paleontologists.

NIGHT NIGHT, DINO-SNORES

After busy days spent doing what dinos do, nine colorful dinosaurs happily bed down for the night protected by a loving adult dino.

Each sleepy dinosaur inhabits a fanciful environment, though it is unclear whether they are based on known information about where dinosaurs lived. There is nothing ferocious or threatening about these dinosaurs. Nor are they likely to excite young paleontologists, as the purpose of the book is to convince young children to go to sleep, just like each of the dinosaurs. The singsong-y verses don’t really work as poetry. Uneven meter makes for an awkward read-aloud experience, and forced rhymes (“Mom” and “calm”; “leaves” and “trees”) are a bit of a stretch. Similarly, touch-and-feel elements added to one of the dinosaurs on each spread feel arbitrary and are more distraction than successful additions. Even toddlers will wonder why only one of each set of dinosaurs has this tactile element. Each spread ends with a “Good night” followed by an alliterative nickname: “Dozing Diplos”; “Resting Raptors”; “Tiny Pteros”; “Snoozing Spinos.” This affectation will turn off adults with a low tolerance for cute and potentially confuse readers just beginning to learn dinosaur names.

A snore for all but the most avid toddler paleontologists. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: March 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-680105-48-3

Page Count: 22

Publisher: Tiger Tales

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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Still, this young boy’s imagination is a powerful force for helping him deal with life, something that should be true for...

OLIVER AND HIS EGG

Oliver, of first-day-of-school alligator fame, is back, imagining adventures and still struggling to find balance between introversion and extroversion.

“When Oliver found his egg…” on the playground, mint-green backgrounds signifying Oliver’s flight into fancy slowly grow larger until they take up entire spreads; Oliver’s creature, white and dinosaurlike with orange polka dots, grows larger with them. Their adventures include sharing treats, sailing the seas and going into outer space. A classmate’s yell brings him back to reality, where readers see him sitting on top of a rock. Even considering Schmid’s scribbly style, readers can almost see the wheels turning in his head as he ponders the girl and whether or not to give up his solitary play. “But when Oliver found his rock… // Oliver imagined many adventures // with all his friends!” This last is on a double gatefold that opens to show the children enjoying the creature’s slippery curves. A final wordless spread depicts all the children sitting on rocks, expressions gleeful, wondering, waiting, hopeful. The illustrations, done in pastel pencil and digital color, again make masterful use of white space and page turns, although this tale is not nearly as funny or tongue-in-cheek as Oliver and His Alligator (2013), nor is its message as clear and immediately accessible to children.

Still, this young boy’s imagination is a powerful force for helping him deal with life, something that should be true for all children but sadly isn’t. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: July 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-7573-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2014

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