BOY, WERE WE WRONG ABOUT DINOSAURS!

From the Boy, Were We Wrong series

A spirited text and humorously detailed line-and-color illustrations discuss the evolving nature of dinosaur research, emphasizing the ways recent discoveries have changed the ways paleontologists understand the always-fascinating creatures. Using the refrain, “Boy, were we wrong . . . !” Kudlinski introduces early thinking about the giant reptiles and then juxtaposes it with our current knowledge: For example, early drawings of dinosaurs show them dragging their tails, but the lack of tail drag marks in thousands of fossil footprints and close examination of tailbones have led scientists to conclude that dinosaurs held their tails out and used them for balance. Schindler’s finely-inked illustrations use faux-antique effects to illustrate old thinking, while current theories feature colorful, full-bleed paintings, giving personality to their subjects without undue anthropomorphizing. Throughout, readers are encouraged to question received knowledge (and older library books), always acknowledging that the science keeps changing. An opening that encourages readers to laugh up their sleeves at the “ignorance” of ancient Chinese scholars on the subject of dinosaurs is an unfortunate detour into exoticism in a text that otherwise treats both readers and subject with respect and enthusiasm. (timeline, bibliography) (Picture book/nonfiction. 5-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2005

ISBN: 0-525-46978-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2005

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JOHNNY APPLESEED

Though she never says outright that he was a real person, Kurtz introduces newly emergent readers to the historical John Chapman, walking along the Ohio, planting apple seeds, and bartering seedlings to settlers for food and clothing. Haverfield supplies the legendary portions of his tale, with views of a smiling, stylishly ragged, clean-shaven young man, pot on head, wildlife on shoulder or trailing along behind. Kurtz caps her short, rhythmic text with an invitation to “Clap your hands for Johnny Chapman. / Clap your hands for Johnny Appleseed!” An appealing way to open discussions of our country’s historical or legendary past. (Easy reader/nonfiction. 5-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2004

ISBN: 0-689-85958-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Aladdin

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2004

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A retro-futuristic romp, literally and figuratively screwy.

ROBOBABY

Robo-parents Diode and Lugnut present daughter Cathode with a new little brother—who requires, unfortunately, some assembly.

Arriving in pieces from some mechanistic version of Ikea, little Flange turns out to be a cute but complicated tyke who immediately falls apart…and then rockets uncontrollably about the room after an overconfident uncle tinkers with his basic design. As a squad of helpline techies and bevies of neighbors bearing sludge cake and like treats roll in, the cluttered and increasingly crowded scene deteriorates into madcap chaos—until at last Cath, with help from Roomba-like robodog Sprocket, stages an intervention by whisking the hapless new arrival off to a backyard workshop for a proper assembly and software update. “You’re such a good big sister!” warbles her frazzled mom. Wiesner’s robots display his characteristic clean lines and even hues but endearingly look like vaguely anthropomorphic piles of random jet-engine parts and old vacuum cleaners loosely connected by joints of armored cable. They roll hither and thither through neatly squared-off panels and pages in infectiously comical dismay. Even the end’s domestic tranquility lasts only until Cathode spots the little box buried in the bigger one’s packing material: “TWINS!” (This book was reviewed digitally with 9-by-22-inch double-page spreads viewed at 52% of actual size.)

A retro-futuristic romp, literally and figuratively screwy. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-544-98731-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: June 3, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2020

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