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From the Curious Kids series

A perfunctory effort.

A select set of pop-up prehistoric portraits, with bite-sized facts for dedicated dinophiles.

In contrast to previous Curious Kids outing Explore the Meadow (2020), this gallery has a slapdash air. Including a less-than-melodramatic opening tableau that features a sauropod who looks almost comically resigned to becoming a theropod’s next meal, five of the eight central pop-ups are just static portraits that hover over stylized prehistoric backdrops. Of the other three, one offers a face-on T. rex with a comically tiny (but toothy) mouth and another, a giant meteorite that actually rises as the spread opens. The fact bits scattered at random are occasionally mind-blowing (“Stegosaurus and Tyrannosaurus lived further apart in time than Tyrannosaurus and humankind”) but more often run to obvious truisms, misstatements (no, Diplodocus was not conclusively the longest dino), or outright non sequiturs: “Some were FEROCIOUS! Others were TALL.” Some of the real-world comparisons do not provide sufficient context: “Even a pig would have been able to run past [Ankylosaurus] with ease”—but how fast does a pig run? Moreover, all but one of the dinosaurs posing on the first and last spreads go unidentified, and Marx also manages to leave birds out of his closing list of dinosaur-age survivals. It’s a shame given the child-attracting combination of topic and format. Companion title Stars and Space publishes simultaneously.

A perfunctory effort. (Informational pop-up book. 5-7)

Pub Date: May 4, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-68010-653-4

Page Count: 16

Publisher: Tiger Tales

Review Posted Online: March 1, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2021

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From the Little People, BIG DREAMS series

It’s a bit sketchy of historical detail, but it’s coherent, inspirational, and engaging without indulging in rapturous...

A first introduction to the iconic civil rights activist.

“She was very little and very brave, and she always tried to do what was right.” Without many names or any dates, Kaiser traces Parks’ life and career from childhood to later fights for “fair schools, jobs, and houses for black people” as well as “voting rights, women’s rights and the rights of people in prison.” Though her refusal to change seats and the ensuing bus boycott are misleadingly presented as spontaneous acts of protest, young readers will come away with a clear picture of her worth as a role model. Though recognizable thanks to the large wire-rimmed glasses Parks sports from the outset as she marches confidently through Antelo’s stylized illustrations, she looks childlike throughout (as characteristic of this series), and her skin is unrealistically darkened to match the most common shade visible on other African-American figures. In her co-published Emmeline Pankhurst (illustrated by Ana Sanfelippo), Kaiser likewise simplistically implies that Great Britain led the way in granting universal women’s suffrage but highlights her subject’s courageous quest for justice, and Isabel Sánchez Vegara caps her profile of Audrey Hepburn (illustrated by Amaia Arrazola) with the moot but laudable claim that “helping people across the globe” (all of whom in the pictures are dark-skinned children) made Hepburn “happier than acting or dancing ever had.” All three titles end with photographs and timelines over more-detailed recaps plus at least one lead to further information.

It’s a bit sketchy of historical detail, but it’s coherent, inspirational, and engaging without indulging in rapturous flights of hyperbole. (Picture book/biography. 5-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 7, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-78603-018-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Frances Lincoln

Review Posted Online: May 9, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2017

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There’s not much beyond the razzle-dazzle, but it’s got that in spades.

Intense hues light up a prehistoric parade.

It’s really all about the colors. The endpapers are twinned head-shot galleries captioned, in the front, with scientific names (“Tyrannosaurus rex”) and pronunciations and, in the rear, translations of same (“Tyrant Lizard King”). In between, Paul marches 18 labeled dinos—mostly one type per page or spread, all flat, white-eyed silhouettes posed (with occasional exceptions) facing the same way against inconspicuously stylized background. The text runs toward the trite: “Some dinosaurs were fast… / and other dinosaurs were slow.” But inspired by the fact that we know very little about how dinosaurs were decorated (according to a brief author’s note), Paul makes each page turn a visual flash. Going for saturated hues and vivid contrasts rather than complex patterns, he sets red-orange spikes like flames along the back of a mottled aquamarine Kentrosaurus, places a small purple-blue Compsognathus beneath a towering Supersaurus that glows like a blown ember, pairs a Giganotosaurus’ toothy head and crest in similarly lambent shades to a spotted green body, and outfits the rest of his cast in like finery. “Today you can see their bones at the museum,” he abruptly, inadequately, and simplistically concludes.

There’s not much beyond the razzle-dazzle, but it’s got that in spades. (Informational picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: April 17, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6698-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Dec. 10, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2018

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