From start to finish, this cleverly constructed and well-designed title is a winner.

DINOSAUR ZOOM!

This gleeful mashup of dinosaurs and things-that-go will surely rev up some noisy participation when it is read aloud.

Dale returns with rhythmic text and vibrant watercolor-and-ink illustrations in her second dino romp (Dinosaur Dig, 2011). A first glimpse of the cover featuring a fiery-hued dinosaur behind the wheel of a blue convertible hurtling at great speed through the desert establishes that this is not your typical dino book. The beginning of the book sets a pattern in which a particular-colored dinosaur steers a certain vehicle in a specific terrain on their way to a big event. An Ankylosaurus drives a minivan, a Stegosaurus pilots an old pickup truck, and so on. (Interestingly, Welsh artist Dale mounts some steering wheels on the right and some on the left of the various cars.) Children will have fun spotting the various presents tucked away on these pages, building a little suspense and foreshadowing the party to come. The language rumbles along with sound effects: “Green dinosaur rattling. Rattling down the hill. Down the hill with a heavy load. Chug! Chug! Chug!” Soon, almost all have arrived to unload and decorate. They are “hurrying to get ready….Quick! Quick! Quick!” Once all that is done, the group hides in the trees to surprise the littlest dinosaur for his birthday. Readers will be tickled to learn that dinosaurs appear to like pizza, cookies and cake, just as they do.

From start to finish, this cleverly constructed and well-designed title is a winner. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: April 9, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-7636-6448-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Nosy Crow

Review Posted Online: Feb. 27, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2013

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Safe to creep on by.

LOVE FROM THE VERY HUNGRY CATERPILLAR

Carle’s famous caterpillar expresses its love.

In three sentences that stretch out over most of the book’s 32 pages, the (here, at least) not-so-ravenous larva first describes the object of its love, then describes how that loved one makes it feel before concluding, “That’s why… / I[heart]U.” There is little original in either visual or textual content, much of it mined from The Very Hungry Caterpillar. “You are… / …so sweet,” proclaims the caterpillar as it crawls through the hole it’s munched in a strawberry; “…the cherry on my cake,” it says as it perches on the familiar square of chocolate cake; “…the apple of my eye,” it announces as it emerges from an apple. Images familiar from other works join the smiling sun that shone down on the caterpillar as it delivers assurances that “you make… / …the sun shine brighter / …the stars sparkle,” and so on. The book is small, only 7 inches high and 5 ¾ inches across when closed—probably not coincidentally about the size of a greeting card. While generations of children have grown up with the ravenous caterpillar, this collection of Carle imagery and platitudinous sentiment has little of his classic’s charm. The melding of Carle’s caterpillar with Robert Indiana’s iconic LOVE on the book’s cover, alas, draws further attention to its derivative nature.

Safe to creep on by. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Dec. 15, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-448-48932-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: Feb. 2, 2021

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As ephemeral as a valentine.

LOVE FROM THE CRAYONS

Daywalt and Jeffers’ wandering crayons explore love.

Each double-page spread offers readers a vision of one of the anthropomorphic crayons on the left along with the statement “Love is [color].” The word love is represented by a small heart in the appropriate color. Opposite, childlike crayon drawings explain how that color represents love. So, readers learn, “love is green. / Because love is helpful.” The accompanying crayon drawing depicts two alligators, one holding a recycling bin and the other tossing a plastic cup into it, offering readers two ways of understanding green. Some statements are thought-provoking: “Love is white. / Because sometimes love is hard to see,” reaches beyond the immediate image of a cat’s yellow eyes, pink nose, and black mouth and whiskers, its white face and body indistinguishable from the paper it’s drawn on, to prompt real questions. “Love is brown. / Because sometimes love stinks,” on the other hand, depicted by a brown bear standing next to a brown, squiggly turd, may provoke giggles but is fundamentally a cheap laugh. Some of the color assignments have a distinctly arbitrary feel: Why is purple associated with the imagination and pink with silliness? Fans of The Day the Crayons Quit (2013) hoping for more clever, metaliterary fun will be disappointed by this rather syrupy read.

As ephemeral as a valentine. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Dec. 24, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5247-9268-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: Feb. 2, 2021

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