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From the There Was an Old Lady series

Not the duo’s best, but fans will enjoy the effort.

“There was an old scientist who swallowed a dinosaur. / I don’t know why she swallowed a dinosaur, but she went to explore.”

She swallows a fern to feed the saurian, then a rock and a pick and a dustpan. In between the old scientist’s gastronomical feats, two children, one tan-skinned and one light-skinned—ask each other questions or spout facts about dinosaurs and paleontology. “Fossils are rocks containing traces of the past.” “Evidence of plants and animals built to last!” The book, the latest of Colandro’s many takes on the “There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly” song, closes with the old scientist, the kids, and the dinosaurs visiting a museum of natural history. With a rhyme scheme that is often as strained as the conceit of the voracious old lady, Colandro makes another foray into nonfiction that is relatively light on facts (previous titles have explored holidays, the seasons, astronomy, and undersea life). Lee is again along to offer his signature bug-eyed and scribbly illustrations that can be a bit unnerving at times. The children’s rhyming banter in speech bubbles interrupts the old lady patter, making the whole at once familiar and clunky. Paleo facts and a scavenger hunt at the end might add to the instruction and the fun respectively. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Not the duo’s best, but fans will enjoy the effort. (Informational picture book. 6-10)

Pub Date: May 3, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-338-66840-7

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 10, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2022

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It’s got a few quirky bits, but it’s lackluster overall.

Pop-up dinosaurs, both fossilized and fully fleshed out, join Mesozoic contemporaries in a series of museum displays.

The single-topic spreads are up-to-date but designed to evoke the dusty atmosphere of old-style dinosaur halls (emphasizing this conceit, some are even labeled “Rooms”). They combine cramped blocks of information in smallish type with images of beasts and bones done in a style that resembles the faded naturalism of early-20th-century museum murals—or, in the “Fossil Room,” a desktop covered in paleontological notes with paper clips and coffee stains. Occasional inset spinners and attached booklets supply additional dino details. A tab-activated flipbook attempts to demonstrate tectonic drift, but readers have to go fairly slowly to assimilate it all, which blunts the effect. Amid pale silhouettes representing modern museum visitors, the prehistoric creatures, nearly all of which are small and drably colored, rear up individually or parade along in sedate, motley groups until a closing display and mention of genetic engineering promise a possible future with pet velociraptors.

It’s got a few quirky bits, but it’s lackluster overall. (Informational pop-up picture book. 7-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-7636-9687-0

Page Count: 14

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Sept. 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2017

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A winning, and necessary, update to Kathleen Zoehfeld’s Terrible Tyrannosaurs (2001, illustrated by Lucia Washburn).

Tyrannosaurus rex poses with 10 recently discovered relatives in this toothy portrait gallery.

Speaking as “Dr. Steve,” co-author Brusatte—paleontologist and tyrannosaur lover—explains to young dinomanes how the titular tyranno (formally dubbed Qianzhousaurus, nicknamed for its long nose) was unearthed and reconstructed before going on to introduce nine other 21st-century discoveries. Each comes with a general description, a “fact file” of basic statistics, a collective timeline that neatly groups contemporaries, and a realistically posed and rendered individual portrait in a natural setting. Following a simple but effective activity involving chalk, a tape measure, and a very large expanse of concrete, an equally cogent infographic at the end illustrates size extremes in this prehistoric clan by juxtaposing images of a human child, a like-sized Kileskus, a full size T. Rex, and a (slightly smaller) school bus. The dinos display a wide range of coloration and skin and feather patterns as well as distinctive crests or other physical features, but Dr. Steve, who is white, is the only individualized human figure until a closing album of snapshot photos.

A winning, and necessary, update to Kathleen Zoehfeld’s Terrible Tyrannosaurs (2001, illustrated by Lucia Washburn). (pronunciation guide, glossary, museum list) (Informational picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 7, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-249093-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 25, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2017

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