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A breezy blast of dino facts.

Intrepid children share meals with a gallery of dinosaurs, from towering T. Rex to a chicken-sized Shuvuuia.

Blithely blowing past the fact that all the dinosaurs here are carnivores who would probably have regarded their human guests as menu items (except perhaps the small and insectivorous Ambopteryx), Morales incorporates stock images of toothy prehistoric predators into cartoon scenes featuring a diverse cast of young people, including one who uses a wheelchair, ready to chow down on steak, seafood, and more. Markle dishes up platefuls of basic facts about each dinosaur, including sizes and hunting styles, which she spices up with colorful commentary: “Utahraptor was a Super Stabber Raptor!” “Imagine what a BIG mouth full of sharp teeth [Spinosaurus] had!” In keeping with the general predator vs. prey vibe, she also urges readers to enjoy the “beast feast” in active ways…“on the go” with Microraptor, for example, or snatching “fast food” with agile Velociraptor. This prehistoric plat-du-jour is capped with further “Fun Facts!” (scientists think that Carnotaurus waved its tiny arms to attract a mate, for instance) plus a timeline and an explanation of how dinosaur hips differ from reptilian ones; readers will also learn what made carnivorous dinosaurs such successful hunters.

A breezy blast of dino facts. (Informational picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: April 2, 2024

ISBN: 9781338858730

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Jan. 5, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2024

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From the What if You Had . . .? series

Another playful imagination-stretcher.

Markle invites children to picture themselves living in the homes of 11 wild animals.

As in previous entries in the series, McWilliam’s illustrations of a diverse cast of young people fancifully imitating wild creatures are paired with close-up photos of each animal in a like natural setting. The left side of one spread includes a photo of a black bear nestling in a cozy winter den, while the right side features an image of a human one cuddled up with a bear. On another spread, opposite a photo of honeybees tending to newly hatched offspring, a human “larva” lounges at ease in a honeycomb cell, game controller in hand, as insect attendants dish up goodies. A child with an eye patch reclines on an orb weaver spider’s web, while another wearing a head scarf constructs a castle in a subterranean chamber with help from mound-building termites. Markle adds simple remarks about each type of den, nest, or burrow and basic facts about its typical residents, then closes with a reassuring reminder to readers that they don’t have to live as animals do, because they will “always live where people live.” A select gallery of traditional homes, from igloo and yurt to mudhif, follows a final view of the young cast waving from a variety of differently styled windows.

Another playful imagination-stretcher. (Informational picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: May 7, 2024

ISBN: 9781339049052

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2024

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A gleeful game for budding naturalists.

Artfully cropped animal portraits challenge viewers to guess which end they’re seeing.

In what will be a crowd-pleasing and inevitably raucous guessing game, a series of close-up stock photos invite children to call out one of the titular alternatives. A page turn reveals answers and basic facts about each creature backed up by more of the latter in a closing map and table. Some of the posers, like the tail of an okapi or the nose on a proboscis monkey, are easy enough to guess—but the moist nose on a star-nosed mole really does look like an anus, and the false “eyes” on the hind ends of a Cuyaba dwarf frog and a Promethea moth caterpillar will fool many. Better yet, Lavelle saves a kicker for the finale with a glimpse of a small parasitical pearlfish peeking out of a sea cucumber’s rear so that the answer is actually face and butt. “Animal identification can be tricky!” she concludes, noting that many of the features here function as defenses against attack: “In the animal world, sometimes your butt will save your face and your face just might save your butt!” (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A gleeful game for budding naturalists. (author’s note) (Informational picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: July 11, 2023

ISBN: 9781728271170

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sourcebooks eXplore

Review Posted Online: May 9, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2023

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