EDWINA, THE DINOSAUR WHO DIDN’T KNOW SHE WAS EXTINCT

A fey foray into existentialism from an emerging master of whimsy. Edwina is the nicest possible dinosaur, who bakes chocolate-chip cookies for everyone and helps little old ladies across the street. Everyone loves her except Reginald Von Hoobie-Doobie, the worst kind of know-it-all who takes it upon himself to convince Edwina that she is extinct and thereby to force her out of existence. When his campaign to persuade everyone else falls flat, it is left to the perpetually sweet Edwina to lend a sympathetic ear. How does she take the news of her impossible existence? She, like everyone but Reginald, just doesn’t care. A muted palette and two-dimensional backgrounds firmly situate Willems’s cartoons in an imaginary world of childhood, Edwina herself a masterful creation complete with hat, pearls and handbag, Reginald and the other humans Feiffer-esque in the expressiveness of their body language. Is this a sly jab in the ribs at another preternaturally kind T. rex? Who cares? The just-right resolution is a tribute to the child’s rock-solid faith in how the world should be, not how it really is. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-7868-3748-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2006

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DANCING DINOS GO TO SCHOOL

Half a dozen lime-green dinosaurs are the stars of this delightful easy reader that offers most of the best qualities of the genre: rhyming text, a jolly rhythm, funny characters and lots of action. The well-written, brief text follows the dancing dinosaurs in a school-library setting as they dance right out of the pages of an open book and into mischief around the school and playground. The librarian, an African-American woman with glasses, and one male student follow the dinosaurs, but the action focuses firmly on the out-of-control dinosaurs. Though this is intended for new readers who are just starting to sound out words, both the storyline and appealing art are strong enough to work as a read-aloud for younger children as well. These dancing dinos have legs, and they ought to pop back out of their book for more rollicking adventures for new readers. (Easy reader. 4-7)

Pub Date: July 11, 2006

ISBN: 0-375-83241-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2006

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Well-trodden dino turf, but the grass is still fairly green.

IF YOU HAPPEN TO HAVE A DINOSAUR

A tongue-in-cheek look at some of the many ways that idle household dinosaurs can be put to work.

Jack casts a host of cartoon dinosaurs—most of them humongous, nearly all smiling and candy bright of hue—in roles as can openers, potato mashers, yard sweepers, umbrellas on rainy days, snowplows, garbage collectors, and like helpers or labor savers. Even babysitters, though, as Bailey aptly notes, “not all dinosaurs are suited to this work.” Still, “[t]he possibilities are amazing!” And even if there aren’t any handy dinos around, she concludes, any live-in octopus, sasquatch, kangaroo or other creature can be likewise exploited. A bespectacled, woolly-haired boy who looks rather a lot like Weird Al Yankovic serves as dino-wrangler in chief, heading up a multiethnic cast of kids who enjoy the dinosaurs’ services. As with all books of this ilk, the humor depends on subtextual visual irony. A group of kids happily flying pterosaur kites sets up a gag featuring a little boy holding a limp string tied to the tail of a grumpy-looking stegosaurus. Changes on this premise have been run over and over since Bernard Most’s If the Dinosaurs Came Back (1978), and though this iteration doesn’t have any fresh twists to offer, at least it’s bright and breezy enough to ward off staleness.

Well-trodden dino turf, but the grass is still fairly green. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: May 13, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-77049-568-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Tundra

Review Posted Online: March 31, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2014

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