In this sequel, Dexter’s still funny, but he is in danger of becoming a one-note joke.

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IT'S SHOW AND TELL, DEXTER!

From the Dexter T. Rexter series

Dexter is as anxious as in his debut, Don’t Forget Dexter! (2017), and he’s worked himself into a frenzy over the fact that Jack’s show-and-tell day is tomorrow.

The orange T. Rex toy is beside himself with excitement and has been preparing for weeks. But then the nerves set in, fears that will be familiar to many a child: “What if no one likes me?” What cool talent could he possibly show off? What if Jack chooses to take someone else instead? Dexter regularly breaks the fourth wall to address readers, responding to their implied criticisms. Regarding the bunny costume: “I know it’s a little tight, but…Really? Not even the cute fluffy tail?” Discarded costumes and possible talents mount up, Dexter’s panic increasing exponentially until a double-page spread “TOTAL FREAKOUT!” leads to the suggestion (from readers, of course) that he just go as himself. The final two spreads portray his show-and-tell debut and its aftermath, but after the extensive lead-up, the finale seems too brief. Ward’s illustrations, made with printmaking ink, colored pencil, and cut paper, wonderfully capture Dexter’s every emotion and over-the-top ideas. Dexter’s owner, Jack, a black boy, appears only at the beginning and end, the dino’s outsized personality taking up all the space in between.

In this sequel, Dexter’s still funny, but he is in danger of becoming a one-note joke. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: July 17, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5039-0137-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2018

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Well-trodden dino turf, but the grass is still fairly green.

IF YOU HAPPEN TO HAVE A DINOSAUR

A tongue-in-cheek look at some of the many ways that idle household dinosaurs can be put to work.

Jack casts a host of cartoon dinosaurs—most of them humongous, nearly all smiling and candy bright of hue—in roles as can openers, potato mashers, yard sweepers, umbrellas on rainy days, snowplows, garbage collectors, and like helpers or labor savers. Even babysitters, though, as Bailey aptly notes, “not all dinosaurs are suited to this work.” Still, “[t]he possibilities are amazing!” And even if there aren’t any handy dinos around, she concludes, any live-in octopus, sasquatch, kangaroo or other creature can be likewise exploited. A bespectacled, woolly-haired boy who looks rather a lot like Weird Al Yankovic serves as dino-wrangler in chief, heading up a multiethnic cast of kids who enjoy the dinosaurs’ services. As with all books of this ilk, the humor depends on subtextual visual irony. A group of kids happily flying pterosaur kites sets up a gag featuring a little boy holding a limp string tied to the tail of a grumpy-looking stegosaurus. Changes on this premise have been run over and over since Bernard Most’s If the Dinosaurs Came Back (1978), and though this iteration doesn’t have any fresh twists to offer, at least it’s bright and breezy enough to ward off staleness.

Well-trodden dino turf, but the grass is still fairly green. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: May 13, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-77049-568-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Tundra

Review Posted Online: March 31, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2014

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A cozy bit of new-family making—perhaps better not taken too literally.

REX

Single parenting, T. Rex style.

Huge, roaring, toothy T. Rex beds down for the night in a handy empty cave—and wakes with a tiny hatchling theropod staring up at him adoringly: “Dada!” Bellowing, “You’re no Rex!” the discomfited dino lumbers off for a daily round of smashing rocks, uprooting trees, and scaring “every saurus” he sees. But Little Rex trots along and soon is pounding boulders and tearing out (small) trees of his own in imitation. Bonding ensues…and survives big Rex’s frank admission that he’s not Little Rex’s real father. “I hope I’m as terrifying as you when I grow up, Dad.” “I’ll make sure of it,” replies big Rex. “That’s what dads are for!” James never troubles to explain how Little Rex, or more precisely his egg, came to be left in the cave; evidently family arrangements “once upon about 65 million years ago” were fairly casual. Anyway, in splashy, melodramatic cartoon scenes featuring a variety of wide-eyed dinosaurs against a backdrop of erupting volcanoes, James exaggerates the size differential between the two rexes to comical effect, endows Little Rex with a cute overbite, and closes with shared smiles.

A cozy bit of new-family making—perhaps better not taken too literally. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: July 12, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-7636-7294-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: March 16, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2016

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