A strong new series for brand-new readers.

READ REVIEW

DIGGER THE DINOSAUR

From the I Can Read! series

Dotlich’s text makes good use of assonance and internal rhymes to support new readers’ decoding skills in this story about a dinosaur who needs to clean up his bedroom before he can go outside to play ball.

Momasaur is displeased with the state of Digger’s room, and when he asks if he can go play ball with his friend, Stego, she replies sternly, “No….Your room is a mess.” Digger mistakes the word “mess” for “yes,” but Stego corrects him, and in a spirit of friendly generosity, offers to help him clean up. Digger continues to fail to attend carefully to others’ words as he confuses Stego’s helpful directions, mishearing “hook” as “book” and “bones” as “stones.” Then Stego becomes distracted and mistakes Momasaur’s final direction to put “hats” away as putting “cats” away. Digger catches the mistake as the poor cats meow from within an armoire, and then they quickly free them and tidy up the hats before going outside to play ball. Cartoonish illustrations seem like they’d be right at home in an animator’s studio, though background detail is a bit overdone and potentially distracting in a book with such a well-controlled text.

A strong new series for brand-new readers. (Early reader. 4-6)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-06-222222-0

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: June 12, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2013

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A cozy bit of new-family making—perhaps better not taken too literally.

REX

Single parenting, T. Rex style.

Huge, roaring, toothy T. Rex beds down for the night in a handy empty cave—and wakes with a tiny hatchling theropod staring up at him adoringly: “Dada!” Bellowing, “You’re no Rex!” the discomfited dino lumbers off for a daily round of smashing rocks, uprooting trees, and scaring “every saurus” he sees. But Little Rex trots along and soon is pounding boulders and tearing out (small) trees of his own in imitation. Bonding ensues…and survives big Rex’s frank admission that he’s not Little Rex’s real father. “I hope I’m as terrifying as you when I grow up, Dad.” “I’ll make sure of it,” replies big Rex. “That’s what dads are for!” James never troubles to explain how Little Rex, or more precisely his egg, came to be left in the cave; evidently family arrangements “once upon about 65 million years ago” were fairly casual. Anyway, in splashy, melodramatic cartoon scenes featuring a variety of wide-eyed dinosaurs against a backdrop of erupting volcanoes, James exaggerates the size differential between the two rexes to comical effect, endows Little Rex with a cute overbite, and closes with shared smiles.

A cozy bit of new-family making—perhaps better not taken too literally. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: July 12, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-7636-7294-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: March 16, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more