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

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 24, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2018

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Count on construction die-hards falling in love, but discerning readers would be wise to look elsewhere for their...

Less ambitious than Chris Gall’s widely known Dinotrux (2009) and sequels, this British import systematically relegates each dinosaur/construction-equipment hybrid to its most logical job.

The title figures are introduced as bigger than both diggers and dinosaurs, and rhyming text and two construction-helmeted kids show just what these creatures are capable of. Each diggersaur has a specific job to do and a distinct sound effect. The dozersaurus moves rocks with a “SCRAAAAPE!!!” while the rollersaurus flattens lumps with a cheery “TOOT TOOT!!” Each diggersaur is numbered, with 12 in all, allowing this to be a counting book on the sly. As the diggersaurs (not all of which dig) perform jobs that regular construction equipment can do, albeit on a larger scale, there is no particular reason why any of them should have dinosaurlike looks other than just ’cause. Peppy computer art tries valiantly to attract attention away from the singularly unoriginal text. “Diggersaurs dig with bites so BIG, / each SCOOP creates a crater. // They’re TOUGH and STRONG / with necks so long— / they’re super EXCAVATORS!” Far more interesting are the two human characters, a white girl and a black boy, that flit about the pictures offering commentary and action. Much of the fun of the book can be found in trying to spot them on every two-page spread.

Count on construction die-hards falling in love, but discerning readers would be wise to look elsewhere for their dino/construction kicks. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: April 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-9848-4779-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Jan. 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

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Gently models kindness and respect—positive behavior that can be applied daily.

A group of young “dinosauruses” go out into the world on their own.

A fuchsia little Hugasaurus and her Pappysaur (both of whom resemble Triceratops) have never been apart before, but Hugasaurus happily heads off with lunchbox in hand and “wonder in her heart” to make new friends. The story has a first-day-of-school feeling, but Hugasaurus doesn’t end up in a formal school environment; rather, she finds herself on a playground with other little prehistoric creatures, though no teacher or adult seems to be around. At first, the new friends laugh and play. But Hugasaurus’ pals begin to squabble, and play comes to a halt. As she wonders what to do, a fuzzy platypus playmate asks some wise questions (“What…would your Pappy say to do? / What makes YOU feel better?”), and Hugasaurus decides to give everyone a hug—though she remembers to ask permission first. Slowly, good humor is restored and play begins anew with promises to be slow to anger and, in general, to help create a kinder world. Short rhyming verses occasionally use near rhyme but also include fun pairs like ripples and double-triples. Featuring cozy illustrations of brightly colored creatures, the tale sends a strong message about appropriate and inappropriate ways to resolve conflict, the final pages restating the lesson plainly in a refrain that could become a classroom motto. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Gently models kindness and respect—positive behavior that can be applied daily. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Dec. 6, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-338-82869-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Orchard/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Sept. 27, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2022

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