Hilarious, emotionally poignant, and just a little bit sassy.

HOW TO BE A T. REX

A feisty girl learns to merge the awesome parts of being a T. Rex with the great parts of being human, inspiring friends and her mean big brother to do the same.

It all starts when Sal’s teacher asks the students what they want to be when they grow up. Clad in a T. Rex shirt and shoes, Sal’s answer is a Tyrannosaurus rex, “because obviously.” Sal offers some amazing facts about T. Rexes, like their awesome teeth and constant roaring, contrasted with sad facts about Sals, including a “tiny, often ignored” body. Sal’s brother says it’s impossible for her to be a T. Rex, but she is determined. She does become a T. Rex, and she finds that it’s “amazing!” Her guide to being a T. Rex includes: “Be super fierce,” “don’t be afraid of anything,” and “do whatever you want all the time!” But she discovers that humans aren’t fond of T. Rex behavior, and after all, there are a few aspects of being human that she misses. So she figures out how to be “an ultimate dino/human hybrid” who is “tough yet kind” and “awesome yet approachable,” with super strength “inside and out” and an “amazing roar.” Brown-skinned Sal is engaging from Page 1, and the comic-style drawings and hand-lettering make her story as dynamic as she is. Readers will enjoy her antics and topsy-turvy relationships again and again.

Hilarious, emotionally poignant, and just a little bit sassy. (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 21, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-399-18624-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: June 25, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Lost and found was never so riotously funny or emotionally draining.

DON'T FORGET DEXTER!

A lost toy goes through an existential crisis.

The setup is on the copyright page. Amid the markers of a universally recognizable waiting room—fish tank, chairs against the wall, receptionist’s window, kids’ coloring table—is a tiny orange T. Rex with a dialogue balloon: “Hello?” A turn of the page brings Dexter T. Rexter into close view, and he explains his dilemma directly to readers. He and his best friend came for a checkup, but Jack’s disappeared. Maybe readers can help? But when Jack is still MIA, Dexter becomes disconsolate, believing his friend might have left him behind on purpose; maybe he likes another toy better? Dexter weighs his good qualities against those he lacks, and he comes up short. But when readers protest (indicated by a change in Dexter’s tone after the turn of the page), Dexter gains the determination he needs to make a plan. Unfortunately, though hilariously, his escape plan fails. But luckily, a just-as-upset black boy comes looking for Dexter, and the two are reunited. Ward’s ink, colored-pencil, and cut-paper illustrations give readers a toy’s view of the world and allow children to stomp in Dexter’s feet for a while, his facial expressions giving them lots of clues to his feelings. Readers will be reminded of both Knuffle Bunny and Scaredy Squirrel, but Dexter is a character all his own.

Lost and found was never so riotously funny or emotionally draining. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5420-4727-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: Aug. 2, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2017

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Still, this young boy’s imagination is a powerful force for helping him deal with life, something that should be true for...

OLIVER AND HIS EGG

Oliver, of first-day-of-school alligator fame, is back, imagining adventures and still struggling to find balance between introversion and extroversion.

“When Oliver found his egg…” on the playground, mint-green backgrounds signifying Oliver’s flight into fancy slowly grow larger until they take up entire spreads; Oliver’s creature, white and dinosaurlike with orange polka dots, grows larger with them. Their adventures include sharing treats, sailing the seas and going into outer space. A classmate’s yell brings him back to reality, where readers see him sitting on top of a rock. Even considering Schmid’s scribbly style, readers can almost see the wheels turning in his head as he ponders the girl and whether or not to give up his solitary play. “But when Oliver found his rock… // Oliver imagined many adventures // with all his friends!” This last is on a double gatefold that opens to show the children enjoying the creature’s slippery curves. A final wordless spread depicts all the children sitting on rocks, expressions gleeful, wondering, waiting, hopeful. The illustrations, done in pastel pencil and digital color, again make masterful use of white space and page turns, although this tale is not nearly as funny or tongue-in-cheek as Oliver and His Alligator (2013), nor is its message as clear and immediately accessible to children.

Still, this young boy’s imagination is a powerful force for helping him deal with life, something that should be true for all children but sadly isn’t. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: July 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-7573-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2014

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more