The combination of dinosaurs and ballet seems an unlikely one, but Carrier and Hart carry it off with both style and heart. T-Rex is a bored, rather lonely dinosaur skeleton who has been on display in a museum for 99 years, with only her ancient memories and her museum guard for company. When she overhears two women discussing ballet and Swan Lake, she breaks out of the museum and heads for the opera house. She finds an extra-large tutu and then joins the ballet performance with uproarious results, scaring the musicians and knocking down dancers with her tail. The audience adores the new dancer, however, and T-Rex performs her own solo to wild acclaim before being escorted back to the museum by her proud guard. T-Rex and her guard relive her triumphant performance, and on the final page, she dreams of a return to the state in The Nutcracker. The offbeat story is full of action and humor, but it’s Demarest who brings T-Rex to life in his jewel-toned watercolors filled with dancers, musicians, ballet fans, and one super-sized skeleton dancing up a storm. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: June 1, 2004

ISBN: 0-525-47177-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2004

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Fans of macabre, tongue-in-cheek humor (and twist endings!) will enjoy time spent with Penelope.

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When a young T. Rex named Penelope starts school, she learns some lessons about her classmates; most importantly, they are not for eating.

Higgins’ starts out as most back-to-school books do: A nervous youngster equipped with an awesome new backpack and hearty lunch worries about her classmates. But then the orange-and-white dino, who’s clad in pink overalls, is taken aback to find that all her classmates are children—the human kind. And “children are delicious,” so she eats them. Mrs. Noodleman forces her to spit them out and reiterates the titular rule. Penelope’s classmates, covered in disgusting spit, express their displeasure with hugely expressive faces and postures. Penelope’s efforts to make friends are unimpressive to the kids (and will have readers in stitches!). A sad and lonely dino trudges home to some advice from her parents, but the temptation the next day is just too great. “Mrs. Noodleman, Penelope ate William Omoto again!” The whole class is afraid of her, except Walter, the goldfish. But when she extends the hand of friendship to him, he gives her a taste of her own medicine, leading to a change of heart and some new friends. Higgins’ illustrations combine scanned textures, graphite, ink, and Photoshop elements, and they feature a wonderfully diverse class that includes a girl in hijab, a tyke in glasses, and a boy wearing a kippah amid classmates of varying skin and hair colors and body types.

Fans of macabre, tongue-in-cheek humor (and twist endings!) will enjoy time spent with Penelope. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: June 19, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-368-00355-1

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2018

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A kissing cousin to Bob Shea’s Dinosaur vs.… series.


Chomping and stomping come naturally to an exuberant dinosaur hatchling. Kissing? That takes practice.

Emerging from her egg at a run, Dinah STOMPS her fat legs and CHOMPS weeds with her sharp teeth. Kissing, though, turns out to be a challenge. After sending one hapless victim flying with a head butt and another inadvertently down the hatch (“Whoops,” she says. “Not good”), she returns to the hatchery…just in time to welcome a new sib with kisses—the sort that involve chomping, stomping and delighted head butts (“WHOMP!”). Drawn in thick outlines with a huge grin, wide eyes and a mottled yellow hide, Dinah stumps her way through minimally detailed prehistoric landscapes populated with anxious-looking smaller creatures. Children who groove on wimpy little butterfly kisses had best look elsewhere.

A kissing cousin to Bob Shea’s Dinosaur vs.… series. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Aug. 6, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-7636-6104-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: May 8, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2013

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