An If the Dinosaurs Came Back for modern times.

DINOSAURS IN DISGUISE

A small, light-skinned blond boy has a theory that the dinosaurs are just in hiding until the moment is right for a reappearance.

“Dinosaurs ruled the earth for millions and millions of years. // If they could do that, they could survive one fiery blast.” The boy also has no trouble guessing why they went on the down low—at first, they were scared of all the changes. And when people showed up, well, hiding seemed like a good idea. And then it just got to be natural. Throughout, Munsinger’s watercolors “hide” the dinos in plain sight, and the youngest readers will be yelling out their locations enthusiastically. That caveman with the tiny arms and green tail? A dinosaur. And that third camel from the left? That gray pyramid? The knight’s steed? The Statue of Liberty? Yep, all dinos. But while many things about today’s world would suit the beasts (fast-food drive-thrus and supermarkets), these are outweighed by some serious cons: office stress, pollution, traffic congestion, the fast food itself. The planet may need some serious work before the dinos come out of hiding, and in the meantime, the boy will keep their secret. Munsinger gives the dinos personalities without feeling the need to dress and accessorize them like people (unless that’s their disguise). And the subtle environmental message goes down easily.

An If the Dinosaurs Came Back for modern times. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-544-47271-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 17, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2016

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

Fans of macabre, tongue-in-cheek humor (and twist endings!) will enjoy time spent with Penelope.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2018

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

WE DON'T EAT OUR CLASSMATES

When a young T. Rex named Penelope starts school, she learns some lessons about her classmates; most importantly, they are not for eating.

Higgins’ starts out as most back-to-school books do: A nervous youngster equipped with an awesome new backpack and hearty lunch worries about her classmates. But then the orange-and-white dino, who’s clad in pink overalls, is taken aback to find that all her classmates are children—the human kind. And “children are delicious,” so she eats them. Mrs. Noodleman forces her to spit them out and reiterates the titular rule. Penelope’s classmates, covered in disgusting spit, express their displeasure with hugely expressive faces and postures. Penelope’s efforts to make friends are unimpressive to the kids (and will have readers in stitches!). A sad and lonely dino trudges home to some advice from her parents, but the temptation the next day is just too great. “Mrs. Noodleman, Penelope ate William Omoto again!” The whole class is afraid of her, except Walter, the goldfish. But when she extends the hand of friendship to him, he gives her a taste of her own medicine, leading to a change of heart and some new friends. Higgins’ illustrations combine scanned textures, graphite, ink, and Photoshop elements, and they feature a wonderfully diverse class that includes a girl in hijab, a tyke in glasses, and a boy wearing a kippah amid classmates of varying skin and hair colors and body types.

Fans of macabre, tongue-in-cheek humor (and twist endings!) will enjoy time spent with Penelope. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: June 19, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-368-00355-1

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2018

Did you like this book?

more