DINOSAURS AFTER DARK

Spotting a passing dinosaur from his bedroom window one night, young Bobby follows it to a square surrounded by tall, dark office buildings where a host of dinos has gathered for a wild rumpus. Jobling, creative director of PBS’s “Bob the Builder,” creates big, blocky cartoons featuring simplified but recognizable dinosaurs, each a single, bright color, sporting with a pajama-clad lad until he drifts off and is tenderly borne back to bed. Emmett (Bringing Down the Moon, 2001, etc.) himself drifts between prose and verse in telling the tale, which makes for abrupt, awkward changes in rhythm. He cites Where the Wild Things Are as his inspiration, but when it comes to emotional or psychological depth, he misses the boat there too. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-307-41179-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Golden Books/Random

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2002

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DINOSAUR TRAIN

“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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Definitely a rousingly rumbly ramble, but the seams are rough enough to trip over.

DINOSONG

Three young dinosaurs enjoy a percussive prehistoric perambulation.

Modeled on their Watersong (2017) McCanna pairs a text composed nearly exclusively of sound-effect words to Smythe’s bright and sprightly views of a triceratops, an ankylosaurus, and a generic sauropod, all sporting smiles, googly eyes, and hides in glowing hues. They cross a log over a stream, lumber through a rocky landscape as thunder rumbles, and tumble into a dark cave to escape the eruption of a nearby volcano. Unlike the previous outing, the sounds sometimes seem oddly unsuited to the action on the page. It’s hard to figure, for instance, how “clank clack // crinkle crackle / clunk” sounds like an ankylosaurus rolling down a steep hill, or “Bang bowl / clang roll” evokes a boulder doing the same. (Maybe the author had a storyline involving robots in mind and the illustrator took an unexpected turn?) Still, there’s never a dull moment, until the cave opens out at its other end to reveal parental dinos in a peaceful setting: Ahh, “Safe and sound.” The author suddenly turns voluble, adding a closing page of remarks about dinosaurs, magma, the three kinds of rocks, what paleontologists do, and other scattered topics at least tangentially related to the mise en scène.

Definitely a rousingly rumbly ramble, but the seams are rough enough to trip over. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5344-3002-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Paula Wiseman/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: April 12, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2020

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