Readers in search of unalloyed wish fulfillment thickly layered with melodramatic posturing and gore-free, comics-style...

A bullying victim saves Earth after his brain is transferred into the body of a T. Rex.

Stomped flat by a huge green foot in the wake of a humiliating encounter with aptly named white classmate Melvin Goonowitz, Ralph, a nerdy boy with light-brown skin, wakes to discover that thanks to local handyman/superscientist Professor Overdrive, he’s not dead but inhabiting a toothy, if tiny-armed, dinosaur brought from the distant past. Why? Because Earth is commanded to send a champion to join 10,000 other gladiators in the interstellar Coliseum of Crunch to fight one another for the continued existence of their planets. Next to the wildly diverse array of glowering, garishly hued, mightily thewed aliens filling the graphic panels, Ralph looks like Barney’s little green brother—but with pluck and luck he not only bumbles his way to an epic win, he rescues a blue-skinned new friend from a sexual predator. Back to Earth in triumph he goes to scare Goonowitz into peeing his pants, then switch into a boy again (in a cloned bod courtesy of Professor Overdrive) with an ongoing new mission to protect little guys from getting picked on. A note about real gladiators of the ancient Roman sort is tacked on at the end.

Readers in search of unalloyed wish fulfillment thickly layered with melodramatic posturing and gore-free, comics-style violence need look no further. (Graphic fantasy/science fiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 24, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4494-7208-5

Page Count: 180

Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing

Review Posted Online: Aug. 26, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2017


From the Inside... series

Aimed directly at confirmed young dino-fans, this pleasantly specific overview covers not only the dinosaurs' distinctive physical characteristics (the authors include modern birds in the group) but the work of paleontologists in both field and lab, the types and typical life cycles of what are carefully dubbed “non-avian” dinos within each “clade,” the mass extinction of 65,000,000 years ago (properly noted as likely due to several causes, not just an asteroid impact) and how new discoveries have refined theories about wings and feathers. Extended onto several single and double gatefolds, the art mixes small color photos with soft-edged paint-and-pencil reconstructions of bones, individual live portraits and prehistoric herds in natural settings. New York’s American Museum of Natural History gets several plugs in the main narrative and the closing, multimedia resource list (two of the authors are employees), but that won’t limit the audience for this above-average series entry. (glossary, bibliography, index) (Nonfiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-4027-7074-6

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Sterling

Review Posted Online: Aug. 17, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2010


Readers with a less-than-burning interest may struggle…or find that interest kindled by the end.

A visual history of our planet’s long career as a nursery for living things.

A brown-skinned paleontologist in a lab coat patiently guides three chattering listeners through the ages from Earth’s fiery formation through climate and other geophysical changes to the present day’s “sixth period of mass extinction.” As she goes, she rolls out polysyllabic terms and nomenclature at a rate that may leave casual readers struggling to keep up but will undoubtedly elevate the pulses of devoted young STEM-winders. Side comments from her audience add common-language context (“The Carboniferous is the age of coal…” one says, while the other concludes, “…and also the age of roaches!”). Though blocks of narrative crowd Barman’s panels, her cartoon portraits of alien-looking sea life evolving first into extinct, pop-eyed plant eaters and toothy, slavering predators, then finally familiar creatures such as us, flesh out the fossil story in lighthearted but reasonably accurate detail. (“Lighthearted” except for one scene of a poached rhino with its horn bloodily removed, that is.) Animals hog the spotlight, and a specious claim that all stars have planets mars the closing vision of new kinds of life arising both on our own world and elsewhere. Still, this French import offers an overview as coherent as it is chronologically broad…particularly for readers not intimidated by encounters with plesiadapiforms, perissodactyls, Gomphoteria, and like sesquipedalia. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10.5-by-15.6-inch double-page spreads viewed at 77% of actual size.)

Readers with a less-than-burning interest may struggle…or find that interest kindled by the end. (partial glossary, index) (Informational picture book. 10-12)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-8234-4578-3

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: Aug. 17, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2020

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