A muddy message about stick-to-itiveness salvaged by a winsome dino duo.

Tiny T. Rex and Pointy the stegosaurus overcome their fears and inexperience to participate in the talent show.

Inspired by the Amazing Presto, enthusiastic Tiny and apprehensive Pointy decide to do a magic act. They don top hats and wield wands, select their magic word, and enlist the help of their special assistant, Bob the teddy bear. At first, the pair expect the magic to just happen, but after careful planning and creative thinking, they find a way to make their disappearing trick work. Nervous Pointy pulls out of the performance at the last minute but in the end finds the courage to appear on stage—as Tiny puts it, “Sometimes the grandest ta-da is not making something disappear. It is when someone who disappeared bravely comes back.” Stutzman’s story touches on hard work and preparation, feelings of anxiety, and perseverance. Tiny does the majority of the narration with brief interjections from Pointy. As a result, aside from facial expressions, readers mostly learn how Pointy feels through Tiny. Because the story never shows Pointy working through fears or uncertainties, some may find the resolution a bit too easily wrapped up. Still, the two are a charming pair. Fleck’s illustrations feature sweet dinos with Tiny’s recognizable toothy grin, bright colors, and a cute supporting cast of characters. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A muddy message about stick-to-itiveness salvaged by a winsome dino duo. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: April 11, 2023

ISBN: 978-1-45218-488-3

Page Count: 52

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 23, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2023


A straightforward tale of conflict and reconciliation for newly emergent readers? Not exactly, which raises it above the...

In this deceptively spare, very beginning reader, a girl assembles a robot and then treats it like a slave until it goes on strike.

Having put the robot together from a jumble of loose parts, the budding engineer issues an increasingly peremptory series of rhymed orders— “Throw, Bot. / Row, Bot”—that turn from playful activities like chasing bubbles in the yard to tasks like hoeing the garden, mowing the lawn and towing her around in a wagon. Jung crafts a robot with riveted edges, big googly eyes and a smile that turns down in stages to a scowl as the work is piled on. At last, the exhausted robot plops itself down, then in response to its tormentor’s angry “Don’t say no, Bot!” stomps off in a huff. In one to four spacious, sequential panels per spread, Jung develops both the plotline and the emotional conflict using smoothly modeled cartoon figures against monochromatic or minimally detailed backgrounds. The child’s commands, confined in small dialogue balloons, are rhymed until her repentant “Come on home, Bot” breaks the pattern but leads to a more equitable division of labor at the end.

A straightforward tale of conflict and reconciliation for newly emergent readers? Not exactly, which raises it above the rest. (Easy reader. 4-6)

Pub Date: June 25, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-375-87083-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: April 14, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2013


An unfortunately simplistic delivery of a well-intentioned message.

Drawing on lyrics from her Mormon children’s hymn of the same title, Pearson explores diversity and acceptance in a more secular context.

Addressing people of varying ages, races, origins, and abilities in forced rhymes that omit the original version’s references to Jesus, various speakers describe how they—unlike “some people”—will “show [their] love for” their fellow humans. “If you don’t talk as most people do / some people talk and laugh at you,” a child tells a tongue-tied classmate. “But I won’t! / I won’t! / I’ll talk with you / and giggle too. / That’s how I’ll show my love for you.” Unfortunately, many speakers’ actions feel vague and rather patronizing even as they aim to include and reassure. “I know you bring such interesting things,” a wheelchair user says, welcoming a family “born far, far away” who arrives at the airport; the adults wear Islamic clothing. As pink- and brown-skinned worshipers join a solitary brown-skinned person who somehow “[doesn’t] pray as some people pray” on a church pew, a smiling, pink-skinned worshiper’s declaration that “we’re all, I see, one family” raises echoes of the problematic assertion, “I don’t see color.” The speakers’ exclamations of “But I won’t!” after noting others’ prejudiced behavior reads more as self-congratulation than promise of inclusion. Sanders’ geometric, doll-like human figures are cheery but stiff, and the text’s bold, uppercase typeface switches jarringly to cursive for the refrain, “That’s how I’ll show my love for you.” Characters’ complexions include paper-white, yellow, pink, and brown.

An unfortunately simplistic delivery of a well-intentioned message. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4236-5395-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Gibbs Smith

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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