HOW BIG WERE DINOSAURS?

The title question is answered engagingly with comparisons of a handful of dinosaurs to objects and animals children will readily recognize.

Velociraptor, spreading terror in audiences since the first Jurassic Park movie, was only the size of a dog, though still pretty vicious. Stegosaurus was as heavy as three cows, but the plates on its back made it look much bigger. Argentinosaurus was the length of four school buses, but at least it was a vegetarian—it ate trees. Images of these dinos next to children, adults and common objects (note the SUV crushed by Ankylosaurus) on white backgrounds are not only amusing, but give a real sense of scale. All the people, animals and dinosaurs that populate these pages appear again, to scale, in a wonderful double foldout. Colors are clean and clear, outlines are crisp. Judge also describes how she figured out the relative sizes of the dinosaurs by studying fossils and skeletons at various museums, and she offers a very brief book and website bibliography. Perhaps a favorite might be Tsintaosaurus, which had a spike “like a giant unicorn” growing out of its head. Dino-philes, assemble! (Informational picture book. 7-10)

 

Pub Date: Aug. 27, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-59643-719-7

Page Count: 46

Publisher: Roaring Brook

Review Posted Online: Oct. 23, 2013

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Chewy fare for fans of polysyllabic monikers but not a top-shelf prospect in the struggle to survive.

THE DAWN OF PLANET EARTH

From the Prehistoric Field Guides series

A chatty lungfish leads a quick tour of life’s evolution, from Earth’s formation to the appearance of early mammals in the Triassic Period.

“Hi. My name is Ackerley. I’m an Acanthostega.” Following introductions and quick peeks at fossilization and continental drift, the colorfully mottled narrator highlights or at least mentions around a dozen extinct creatures. These range from millipedes “the size of crocodiles” and Opabinia—“If there were a prize for The Weirdest Creature That Ever Lived, Opabinia would be a hot favorite”— to the shrewlike Megazostrodon. Though rendered in close, sharp relief, usually with mouths threateningly open (at least for those animals with visible mouths), Minister’s page-filling, digitally modeled figures often sport a shiny, plastic look. The artificiality extends to an obtrusive absence of blood and gore despite attacks and toothy chomping aplenty here and also in the co-published Dinosaurs Rule. Moreover, both volumes share substantial passages of boilerplate and mention animals that have no corresponding portraits. The closing recaps and indexes are likewise incomplete.

Chewy fare for fans of polysyllabic monikers but not a top-shelf prospect in the struggle to survive. (Nonfiction. 7-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4677-6348-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Hungry Tomato/Lerner

Review Posted Online: June 6, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2015

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Like Sam with those hot dogs, readers eager to snap up any dino-story will make quick work of this tongue-in-cheek romp.

DINO-MIKE AND THE T. REX ATTACK

From the Dino-Mike series , Vol. 1

The appearance of a live T. Rex near a fossil dig kicks off a wild round of dino-antics in this series kickoff from an Eisner Award–winning comics writer.

Hardly has young Mike donned his high-tech, solar-powered hoodie—a present from his paleontologist dad—than he’s running into Shannon, a mysterious girl wielding awesome futuristic devices, and running in panic from a hungry T. Rex he decides, in a less frantic moment, to name Sam. Secretive about her origins, Shannon enlists Mike, whom she dubs “Dino-Mike” (she herself goes by the less punchy moniker “Triceratops Shannon”), to help her steal a hot dog truck and lure the monster into a force field cage so that it can be sent back to the Cretaceous. Though ultimately successful, the mission is not only complicated by continuing interference from rascally dinosaur collector Jurassic Jeff, but capped, in a closing stunner, with unmistakable evidence that “Sam” was actually “Samantha.” Franco strews his lickety-split escapade with cartoons featuring wide-eyed figures viewed, often, from dramatic angles, leaves loose ends aplenty for sequels, and tacks on a dino-glossary and a set of T. Rex facts at the end.

Like Sam with those hot dogs, readers eager to snap up any dino-story will make quick work of this tongue-in-cheek romp. (Science fiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: March 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4342-9631-3

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Capstone Young Readers

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2014

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