BUS TO THE BADLANDS

From the Orca Echoes series

A low-key, fantasy-free dino adventure.

Muddy mishaps and a thrilling discovery highlight a class outing to a dinosaur museum and dig in Alberta.

Following months of fundraising and dinosaur study (“The only thing the teacher did not have us do was write dinosaur poems,” reports narrator Josh with lamentable lack of disappointment), the weeklong trip to Drumheller begins with a bus, features a visit to a dinosaur museum, and culminates in an encounter with a snake—in the course of which Josh finds the protruding end of a fossilized bone. Better yet, the discovery earns Josh’s whole class free pizza from the site’s paleontologists! Despite the dinos and minor drama (the snake just flicks away at earliest opportunity), the tale is a staid one overall, but there is free pizza, and in Dávila’s ink-and-wash illustrations, Josh is a person of color (with brown skin and straight, black hair) in a diverse class. Fledgling chapter-book readers working their way through Suzy Kline’s Horrible Harry series may be drawn to this Canadian counterpart.

A low-key, fantasy-free dino adventure. (Fiction. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 11, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4598-1670-1

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Orca

Review Posted Online: June 10, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

TOUCH THE EARTH

From the Julian Lennon White Feather Flier Adventure series , Vol. 1

“It’s time to head back home,” the narrator concludes. “You’ve touched the Earth in so many ways.” Who knew it would be so...

A pro bono Twinkie of a book invites readers to fly off in a magic plane to bring clean water to our planet’s oceans, deserts, and brown children.

Following a confusingly phrased suggestion beneath a soft-focus world map to “touch the Earth. Now touch where you live,” a shake of the volume transforms it into a plane with eyes and feathered wings that flies with the press of a flat, gray “button” painted onto the page. Pressing like buttons along the journey releases a gush of fresh water from the ground—and later, illogically, provides a filtration device that changes water “from yucky to clean”—for thirsty groups of smiling, brown-skinned people. At other stops, a tap on the button will “help irrigate the desert,” and touching floating bottles and other debris in the ocean supposedly makes it all disappear so the fish can return. The 20 children Coh places on a globe toward the end are varied of skin tone, but three of the four young saviors she plants in the flier’s cockpit as audience stand-ins are white. The closing poem isn’t so openly parochial, though it seldom rises above vague feel-good sentiments: “Love the Earth, the moon and sun. / All the children can be one.”

“It’s time to head back home,” the narrator concludes. “You’ve touched the Earth in so many ways.” Who knew it would be so easy to clean the place up and give everyone a drink? (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: April 11, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5107-2083-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sky Pony Press

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2017

FLIP-O-STORIC

Sturdy split pages allow readers to create their own inventive combinations from among a handful of prehistoric critters. Hard on the heels of Flip-O-Saurus (2010) drops this companion gallery, printed on durable boards and offering opportunities to mix and match body thirds of eight prehistoric mammals, plus a fish and a bird, to create such portmanteau creatures as a “Gas-Lo-Therium,” or a “Mega-Tor-Don.” The “Mam-Nyc-Nia” places the head of a mammoth next to the wings and torso of an Icaronycteris (prehistoric bat) and the hind legs of a Macrauchenia (a llamalike creature with a short trunk), to amusing effect. Drehsen adds first-person captions on the versos, which will also mix and match to produce chuckles: “Do you like my nose? It’s actually a short trunk…” “I may remind you of an ostrich, because my wings aren’t built for flying…” “My tail looks like a dolphin’s.” With but ten layers to flip, young paleontologists will run through most of the permutations in just a few minutes, but Ball’s precisely detailed ink-and-watercolor portraits of each animal formally posed against plain cream colored backdrops may provide a slightly more enduring draw. A silhouette key on the front pastedown includes a pronunciation guide and indicates scale. Overall, a pleasing complement to more substantive treatments. (Novelty nonfiction. 6-8)

Pub Date: May 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-7892-1099-9

Page Count: 22

Publisher: Abbeville Kids

Review Posted Online: April 4, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2011

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