A playful if incomplete twist on an ever popular theme.

HOW TO CARE FOR YOUR T-REX

“When you take good care of your T-Rex, your T-Rex will take good care of you.”

Elaborating on a notion that has been popular since Bernard Most’s If the Dinosaurs Came Back (1978), Baker offers general guidance on how to keep a dino-pet (or many other sorts) fed, clean, and well-behaved. He mixes this with observations on how a huge, toothy theropod can be an awesome teammate in various sports and drools enough to create a terrific water slide, but it is definitely a messy eater (Coverly displays a fine gift for depicting goo and slop in showing what it does to a stack of pancakes and sausage pizzas) and, considering those short arms, maybe not so good at getting a kite out of a tree. In loosely drawn cartoon scenes the illustrator tucks an inconspicuously diverse cast of small human figures—the children excited, the grown-ups mildly dismayed—around a humongous green Tyrannosaurus rex that happily trashes a suburban neighborhood before it’s time to brush, floss, climb into dino-jammies, hear a bedtime story, and snuggle down into bed to a sweet lullaby from its blond, light-skinned young caretaker. Dino-dumps aren’t the only topic left unaddressed, as this lively riff on a popular trope focuses more on the pleasures of having an outsized pet than its challenges.

A playful if incomplete twist on an ever popular theme. (additional facts) (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: April 30, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-250-13751-7

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Christy Ottaviano/Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Dec. 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2019

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Formulaic but not stale…even if it does mine previous topical material rather than expand it.

HOW DO DINOSAURS SHOW GOOD MANNERS?

From the How Do Dinosaurs…? series

A guide to better behavior—at home, on the playground, in class, and in the library.

Serving as a sort of overview for the series’ 12 previous exercises in behavior modeling, this latest outing opens with a set of badly behaving dinos, identified in an endpaper key and also inconspicuously in situ. Per series formula, these are paired to leading questions like “Does she spit out her broccoli onto the floor? / Does he shout ‘I hate meat loaf!’ while slamming the door?” (Choruses of “NO!” from young audiences are welcome.) Midway through, the tone changes (“No, dinosaurs don’t”), and good examples follow to the tune of positive declarative sentences: “They wipe up the tables and vacuum the floors. / They share all the books and they never slam doors,” etc. Teague’s customary, humongous prehistoric crew, all depicted in exact detail and with wildly flashy coloration, fill both their spreads and their human-scale scenes as their human parents—no same-sex couples but some are racially mixed, and in one the man’s the cook—join a similarly diverse set of sibs and other children in either disapprobation or approving smiles. All in all, it’s a well-tested mix of oblique and prescriptive approaches to proper behavior as well as a lighthearted way to play up the use of “please,” “thank you,” and even “I’ll help when you’re hurt.”

Formulaic but not stale…even if it does mine previous topical material rather than expand it. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 20, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-338-36334-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Blue Sky/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2020

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Jack and Dexter have become a beloved duo, and the dino’s behavior-modeling sure goes down easily.

VACATION FOR DEXTER!

From the Dexter T. Rexter series

Jack and his over-the-top, animate, orange T. Rex toy are back, this time tackling their fears of flying.

Jack and Dexter are very excited for vacation—they are going “someplace exotic called FLOR-I-DA.” But when the car stops too soon and Dexter realizes they are at the airport, even his vacation accessories can’t keep him from losing his cool; everyone knows T. Rex arms are too short for flying. But just as Dexter really starts to melt down, he gets a glimpse of Jack and realizes he needs to take care of his boy. Dexter pulls out all the stops in calming Jack, and the duo sing their song (with an airplane twist), peer out the window, and enjoy the movie and all the cookies the “nice lady” plies them with. Ward’s orange dino continues to break the fourth wall, though he’s a mite calmer than usual in this outing. The illustrations are just as laugh-out-loud funny as ever, with the toy’s expressions stealing every scene. Jack, who has brown skin, sits in a window seat next to a girl/woman who shares his coloring; across the aisle are a man and a woman with a baby who also all have brown skin. The relationships are not clear, though the text states Jack is not sitting with his parents.

Jack and Dexter have become a beloved duo, and the dino’s behavior-modeling sure goes down easily. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: April 16, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5420-4320-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2019

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