Sure to be enjoyed by tea-party enthusiasts, and even dino fans with no use for a teapot will find themselves drawn to this...

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TEA REX

Emily Post herself could not come up with a more proper set of guidelines for entertaining a visitor from the Cretaceous.

Except for opening and closing invitations, the text is made up entirely of words of sage advice, while the illustrations tell the riotous story. Cordelia and her teddy-clutching younger brother host a polite, if not entirely trained, T-Rex at their tea party. At first, things go well, with the toothy guest shaking hands all around and devouring cakes and treats. The party quickly disintegrates, however, when the hostess’ hat proves to be the only possible adequate teacup, the teddy barely escapes several dire fates, and some raucous dancing leads to a busted home. Fortunately—and properly—the T-Rex makes sure to return the invite, and our young heroes party with all their favorite dinos. Idle makes full use of the ironic juxtaposition of meat-eater against tea etiquette, mining the humor of it for all it’s worth. Created by surprisingly bright colored pencils, each scene glows. Idle’s smallest details are where the true pleasure lies, as when the hostess bores her guests with talk of begonias, and the T-Rex surreptitiously checks the watch on his tiny little wrist.

Sure to be enjoyed by tea-party enthusiasts, and even dino fans with no use for a teapot will find themselves drawn to this clever tale of a not-entirely-civilized beast of the past. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 9, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-670-01430-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Feb. 27, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2013

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It’s got witty illustrations, but it paints a pretty bleak picture for society.

THAT'S WHAT DINOSAURS DO

When a T. Rex gets a sore throat and cannot roar for one whole week, his self-control is tested.

William loves to roar. But not just for the sake of making loud noise. He loves hiding, sneaking, and scaring, along with roaring. He can’t help it. As the titular refrain explains: “That’s what dinosaurs do.” Oswald’s blue-dappled, toothy dino peers out from behind bushes, frightening folks in literally hair-raising fashion (even the sheep that he scares have their wool standing on end). But when the doctor tells William he must rest his voice in order to cure his sore throat, he doesn’t know how to act. He wraps a big roll of gauze around his snout and slumps through town, dejected. It’s not very much fun for William, but the townspeople are ecstatic. No more roaring! No more scaring! But will William be able to keep it up? Though moments of growth are present (William does recognize that he shouldn’t scare others), readers may be taken aback by the unabashedly unapologetic prehistoric creature’s resistance to rehabilitation. Instead of reaching for a clever way to impart wisdom, John leans heavily on the excuse, “That’s what dinosaurs do.” William is a bully, with no hope of reformation.

It’s got witty illustrations, but it paints a pretty bleak picture for society. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: May 21, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-234319-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Feb. 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2019

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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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