“Thursday was a day much like any other for Jesse. Trains and dinosaurs. Dinosaurs and trains.” In a brisk, bright solo debut, Gurney combines these two near-universal obsessions; just as Jesse is getting ready for bed, a huge spiked tail extends through the window, and the call comes: “ALL ABOARD!” Who could resist? Off Jesse hies on a train filled with enormous dinos of diverse, recognizable sorts, all sporting a range of human attire from business suits to blue jeans. The train is derailed when everyone rushes to one side to view an exploding volcano, but with Jesse’s help, it’s soon back on track, steaming bedroom-wards with a Tyrannosaurus engineer perched atop the boiler. The author gives his towering prehistoric passengers a friendly look, and depicts them with a crisp precision enhanced by white or plain-colored backgrounds. Here’s a train that will never want for pajama-clad passengers—no ticket required. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2002

ISBN: 0-06-029245-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2002

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Iguano-don’t bother.


From the Iggy Iguanadon series

A little dinosaur navigates friendships and new foods in this early reader.

In “Playtime,” the first of this volume’s two stories, Mama tells Iggy that he’s to have a play date with Murka Macrosaur. Iggy’s afraid that she’ll be into girly things like princesses, but instead the two try a variety of different outdoor activities before settling on a ring toss that utilizes Triceratops Murka’s pointy nose. “Mealtime” sees Iggy eyeing a dinner of ferns with great suspicion. He’d much rather eat flowers, but even after Papa says he can’t have them until he tries his ferns, it takes Grandpa’s subtle intervention to convince the young dino to attempt something new. An opening key ranks the text as Level 2, defined as “Reading With Help.” With such words as Iguanodon, tagalong, Macrosaur, and triceratops on the first nine pages alone, that help will be sorely needed, especially for young readers who don’t already know their dinosaur names. Elegant writing does not mitigate this problem (“But Murka gets stuck in somersaults, the same as all triceratops”). Meanwhile, cumbersome, inexpressive art does little to distract from the text, and the absence of outlines around the uniformly green dinos makes compositions where bodies overlap particularly confusing. Finally, this may be set in the Cretaceous, but what really feels ancient are elements like an apron-wearing mom, a father as disciplinarian, and a grandfather who smokes a pipe. Companion title Bath Time & Bedtime publishes simultaneously.

Iguano-don’t bother. (Early reader. 5-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-8075-3642-1

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Whitman

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2020

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Expanding on the principle that there’s “a dino for every kid,” Rennert introduces a handful of dinosaurs, then offers useful general advice for new owners about care, feeding and elementary training. Using just as broad a brush for the art, Brown offers bright, splotchy monoprint scenes of smiling young folk turning their equally happy-looking prehistoric pets into a water slide or roller coaster, taking them to a beach and ballgame or just generally frolicking about. Under the descriptive label “Spiny,” the Spinosaurus receives this gloss: “Although she’s the perfect buddy all year round, [she] is a great warm-weather dino.” The illustration depicts a smiling dino, purple flowers dotting its tan hide, while a trio of kids enjoys the shade of its sail at the beach. From dino descriptions to basic commands—“STAY (Ha!)”—to exercising your dino and taking it to school, it’s a cheery descendant of Bernard Most’s classic If the Dinosaurs Came Back (1978), done in brighter colors and with a more contemporary look. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 13, 2009

ISBN: 978-0-375-83679-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2009

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