Dinophiles and budding wordsmiths will be delighted.


A well-armored sesquipedal-o-saur picks a “quintessential” companion in his second outing.

Word-loving Theo’s distress at seeing his prehistoric peers with proper pets dissipates after he latches on to a small and solitary saber tooth tiger: “I will call you Fang.” Unfortunately, the manic mammal proves hard to tame—digging holes in the lawn and leaping on all and sundry despite firm commands to “Seat oneself,” and “Remain.” Distress transmogrifies to delight, however, once Theo realizes that the problem is a simple failure to communicate, and if a switch from words to hisses and growls doesn’t calm the creature completely (“Fang was a little dramatic”), it does quickly put the kibosh on the worst of the bad behavior. Though not all the alternative locutions a “Defino-Dino” pops up to deliver will enlighten bumfuzzled readers (“Mischievous means troublesome”) and Moran’s decision to give Theo’s dad a necktie of the same color and pattern as Fang’s spotted hide in the cartoon illustrations leaves the toothy therapsid’s future perhaps in doubt, still the buddies’ bond is sealed with a closing clinch. The theme of finding and sharing a common language adds a buff to the basic vocabulary building. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Dinophiles and budding wordsmiths will be delighted. (glossary) (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: July 26, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-46432-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: March 30, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2022

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A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends


From the Elephant & Piggie series

Gerald the elephant learns a truth familiar to every preschooler—heck, every human: “Waiting is not easy!”

When Piggie cartwheels up to Gerald announcing that she has a surprise for him, Gerald is less than pleased to learn that the “surprise is a surprise.” Gerald pumps Piggie for information (it’s big, it’s pretty, and they can share it), but Piggie holds fast on this basic principle: Gerald will have to wait. Gerald lets out an almighty “GROAN!” Variations on this basic exchange occur throughout the day; Gerald pleads, Piggie insists they must wait; Gerald groans. As the day turns to twilight (signaled by the backgrounds that darken from mauve to gray to charcoal), Gerald gets grumpy. “WE HAVE WASTED THE WHOLE DAY!…And for WHAT!?” Piggie then gestures up to the Milky Way, which an awed Gerald acknowledges “was worth the wait.” Willems relies even more than usual on the slightest of changes in posture, layout and typography, as two waiting figures can’t help but be pretty static. At one point, Piggie assumes the lotus position, infuriating Gerald. Most amusingly, Gerald’s elephantine groans assume weighty physicality in spread-filling speech bubbles that knock Piggie to the ground. And the spectacular, photo-collaged images of the Milky Way that dwarf the two friends makes it clear that it was indeed worth the wait.

A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends . (Early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-9957-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Nov. 5, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2014

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Readers who (inexplicably) find David Lawrence’s Pickle and Penguin (2004) just too weird may settle in more comfortably...


A lad finds a penguin on his doorstep and resolutely sets out to return it in this briefly told import. 

Eventually, he ends up rowing it all the way back to Antarctica, braving waves and storms, filling in the time by telling it stories. But then, feeling lonely after he drops his silent charge off, he belatedly realizes that it was probably lonely too, and turns back to find it. Seeing Jeffers’s small, distant figures in wide, simply brushed land- and sea-scapes, young viewers will probably cotton to the penguin’s feelings before the boy himself does—but all’s well that ends well, and the reunited companions are last seen adrift together in the wide blue sea. 

Readers who (inexplicably) find David Lawrence’s Pickle and Penguin (2004) just too weird may settle in more comfortably with this—slightly—less offbeat friendship tale. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-399-24503-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2005

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