Have your teacher read this the day before show-and-tell: Any pet will be more than welcome…as long as it’s not a...

PTERODACTYL SHOW AND TELL

When a boy brings his pet pterodactyl for show-and-tell, chaos reigns in the third grade.

Told from the boy’s point of view, the book walks readers through this not-so-typical show-and-tell day, which starts when the pterodactyl almost eats a couple classmates before they’ve even entered the building. But then Krasnesky takes off the kid gloves, and the children start disappearing: “My teacher had to make some minor changes in attendance, / and social studies looked more like the War of Independence.” The illustration that accompanies this last phrase shows the students barricaded behind desks and chairs, one holding an American flag, another playing a (banana) fife, the narrator playing a drum, and several flinging paper projectiles. At recess, the kids all played hide-and-seek (duh!). Leonello gets plenty of practice at illustrating fear, shock, and dismay in her digital artwork. As the day goes on, she masterfully incorporates funny elements that reflect what’s happening: In math, there’s a circle graph showing the number of students present and those absent (i.e., eaten), and during reading, don’t miss the titles of the kids’ books. The class, headed by a white teacher, starts the day diverse but ends up populated by only the white, redheaded narrator and his green pet.

Have your teacher read this the day before show-and-tell: Any pet will be more than welcome…as long as it’s not a pterodactyl. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 3, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-936261-34-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Flashlight Press

Review Posted Online: July 24, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2018

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Formulaic but not stale…even if it does mine previous topical material rather than expand it.

HOW DO DINOSAURS SHOW GOOD MANNERS?

From the How Do Dinosaurs…? series

A guide to better behavior—at home, on the playground, in class, and in the library.

Serving as a sort of overview for the series’ 12 previous exercises in behavior modeling, this latest outing opens with a set of badly behaving dinos, identified in an endpaper key and also inconspicuously in situ. Per series formula, these are paired to leading questions like “Does she spit out her broccoli onto the floor? / Does he shout ‘I hate meat loaf!’ while slamming the door?” (Choruses of “NO!” from young audiences are welcome.) Midway through, the tone changes (“No, dinosaurs don’t”), and good examples follow to the tune of positive declarative sentences: “They wipe up the tables and vacuum the floors. / They share all the books and they never slam doors,” etc. Teague’s customary, humongous prehistoric crew, all depicted in exact detail and with wildly flashy coloration, fill both their spreads and their human-scale scenes as their human parents—no same-sex couples but some are racially mixed, and in one the man’s the cook—join a similarly diverse set of sibs and other children in either disapprobation or approving smiles. All in all, it’s a well-tested mix of oblique and prescriptive approaches to proper behavior as well as a lighthearted way to play up the use of “please,” “thank you,” and even “I’ll help when you’re hurt.”

Formulaic but not stale…even if it does mine previous topical material rather than expand it. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 20, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-338-36334-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Blue Sky/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2020

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Better books about loving fathers and the things they do for their children abound.

I LOVE DAD

I Love Mom (2014) gets its companion title from Walsh and Abbot.

Unfortunately, it suffers from problems similar to the ones that sank the first book. This time portraying dad and his child as brightly colored dinosaurs with big heads and goofy grins, the book enumerates all the ways that no one is as good as dad. “Nobody’s kisses are so bristly. / Nobody’s stubble so double-itchy.” Odd things to celebrate, particularly in a reptile, but this dad also “makes breakfast into a festival,” rides bikes with his kiddo, plays with board games and toys when it’s raining, and makes sure his child’s teeth are brushed. The text does not rhyme, which makes the wording seem especially strange and difficult for young readers to parse: “Who else gives me a feeling of being as tall as the ceiling? Better go outside where… / nobody’s shoulders could be higher, so near the sky for such a lively ride // … // Cooking with Dad’s a laugh, a blast, not half a spoonful wasted.” Abbot manages to show lots of emotion from just simple dots and lines for eyes and mouths, and it’s clear just how much this child looks up to Dad.

Better books about loving fathers and the things they do for their children abound. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: April 12, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4814-6266-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Paula Wiseman/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: March 16, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2016

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