MAMMOTH

The author of Megatooth (1991) and Gigantic (1999) returns to prehistory to share the saga of the mammoth, an ancient relative of the elephant that wandered from Africa to Alaska before and during the last Ice Age. Using a large picture-book format and integrating spot watercolor illustrations throughout the text, he discusses how people learned of the mammoths, and then visualizes the world in which the mammoths flourished and then perished. While most people know of the woolly mammoth, O’Brien also describes several other species, including the steppe mammoth, imperial mammoth, Columbian mammoth, and even a dwarf mammoth, the size of a large dog, living on the island of Malta. Especially fine are the detailed drawings of other members of the mammoth family tree and comparison drawings of trunks, heads, and tusks of various mammoths. Libraries that have just purchased Caroline Arnold’s When Mammoths Walked the Earth (p. 1026) may consider a second title covering much the same material redundant; however, O’Brien’s title has less text and will better suit a younger reader. (Nonfiction. 5-9)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2002

ISBN: 0-8050-6596-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2002

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DINOTRUX

From the Dinotrux series

The tough working trucks in Kate and Jim McMullan’s I Stink! (2002) and sequels look like lightweights next to their brawny prehistoric antecedents in Gall’s rousing, grimy full-bleed spreads. Crushing rocks and trees, flattening smaller creatures and sending diminutive cave people fleeing in pop-eyed panic, a round dozen metal behemoths roll by, from towering Craneosaurus—“CRACK, MUNCH. / Look out birds, it’s time for lunch!”—and the grossly incontinent Blacktopodon to a stampede of heavily armored Semisaurs and the “bully of the jungle,” toothy Tyrannosaurus Trux. Why aren’t these motorized monsters with us today? They are, though in the wake of a mighty storm that left most mired in the mud to rust, the survivors went South and, as a climactic foldout reveals, evolved into the more beneficent vehicles we know and love. Dinotrux ruled their world, and now they’re likely to rule this one too. Bellow on! (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: June 1, 2009

ISBN: 978-0-316-02777-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2009

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A powerful retrospective glimpse at a key event.

LET THE CHILDREN MARCH

A vibrantly illustrated account of the Birmingham Children’s Crusade through the eyes of a young girl who volunteers to participate.

Morrison’s signature style depicts each black child throughout the book as a distinct individual; on the endpapers, children hold signs that collectively create a “Civil Rights and the Children’s Crusade” timeline, placing the events of the book in the context of the greater movement. When Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. comes to speak at her church, a girl and her brother volunteer to march in their parents’ stead. The narrative succinctly explains why the Children’s Crusade was a necessary logistical move, one that children and parents made with careful consideration and despite fear. Lines of text (“Let the children march. / They will lead the way // The path may be long and / troubled, but I’m gonna walk on!”) are placed within the illustrations in bold swoops for emphasis. Morrison’s powerful use of perspective makes his beautiful oil paintings even more dynamic and conveys the intensity of the situations depicted, including the children’s being arrested, hosed, and jailed. The child crusaders, regardless of how badly they’re treated, never lose their dignity, which the art conveys flawlessly. While the children win the day, such details as the Confederate flag subtly connect the struggle to the current day.

A powerful retrospective glimpse at a key event. (timeline, afterword, artist’s statement, quote sources, bibliography) (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: Jan. 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-544-70452-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: Oct. 16, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2017

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