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From the Rory the Dinosaur series

Children just developing a sense of humor will appreciate the innocent silliness of the tale.

Rory is a lucky dinosaur. He so much wants a pet, and a pet finds him instead!

First introduced to this sweet anthropomorphized dinosaur in Rory the Dinosaur: Me and My Dad, readers now find him standing on his hands in excitement because he is going to play with his friends. When he meets them at the beach, sloth Hank has a surprise pet to show off. It is none other than a hermit crab. (Climo’s lighthearted approach shows a pet that probably displays as much activity as a sloth could take!) After saying goodbye to his friends, Rory thinks about how much fun it would be to have a pet of his own. When all the possible pets he meets on the way home don’t work out, he accepts he might not find one today. But: lo and behold! A coconut falls from a tree and rolls after him! How could he not keep it, now that it has followed him home? Now named George, the coconut is all that a pet should be, making Rory very happy. The cartoon-style illustrations, achieved with “digital magic,” are set off with plenty of white space, and with just a sentence or two per page, it is an appealing read-aloud.

Children just developing a sense of humor will appreciate the innocent silliness of the tale. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: June 7, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-316-27729-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2016

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Nice enough but not worth repeat reads.

Emma deals with jitters before playing the guitar in the school talent show.

Pop musician Kevin Jonas and his wife, Danielle, put performance at the center of their picture-book debut. When Emma is intimidated by her very talented friends, the encouragement of her younger sister, Bella, and the support of her family help her to shine her own light. The story is straightforward and the moral familiar: Draw strength from your family and within to overcome your fears. Employing the performance-anxiety trope that’s been written many times over, the book plods along predictably—there’s nothing really new or surprising here. Dawson’s full-color digital illustrations center a White-presenting family along with Emma’s three friends of color: Jamila has tanned skin and wears a hijab; Wendy has dark brown skin and Afro puffs; and Luis has medium brown skin. Emma’s expressive eyes and face are the real draw of the artwork—from worry to embarrassment to joy, it’s clear what she’s feeling. A standout double-page spread depicts Emma’s talent show performance, with a rainbow swirl of music erupting from an amp and Emma rocking a glam outfit and electric guitar. Overall, the book reads pretty plainly, buoyed largely by the artwork. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Nice enough but not worth repeat reads. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 29, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-35207-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Razorbill/Penguin

Review Posted Online: Feb. 8, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2022

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From the How To Catch… series

A syrupy tribute to mothers that may please fans of the series.

Another creature is on the loose.

The long-running series continues its successful formula with this Hallmark card of a book, which features bright illustrations and catchy rhymes. This time, the mythical creature the racially diverse children set out to catch is an absent mom who does it all (lists of descriptors include the words banker, caregiver, nurse, doctor, driver, chef, housekeeper, teacher, entertainer, playmate, laundry service, problem solver, handywoman, cleaner, and alarm clock) but doesn’t seem to have a job outside the home and is inexplicably a dinosaur. As the children prepare gifts and a meal for her, the text becomes an ode to the skills the Mamasaurus possesses (“Day or night she’s always there. / She meets every wish and need”) and values she instills (“Sometimes life can mean hard work,” “kindness matters,” and “what counts is doing your best”). This well-intentioned selection veers into cliche generously sprinkled with saccharine but manages to redeem itself with its appreciation for mothers and all that they may do. Endpapers include a “to” and “from” page framed in a heart, as well as a page where young gift givers or recipients can draw a picture of their Mamasaurus.

A syrupy tribute to mothers that may please fans of the series. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: March 5, 2024

ISBN: 9781728274300

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sourcebooks Wonderland

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2024

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