Bland sauce: Others have dished up better.

READ REVIEW

LIBRARY BOOKS ARE NOT FOR EATING!

Kids are shocked by their new librarian’s eating habits.

“The day Ms. Bronte came to school, / story time was extra cool,” warbles the collective narrator—except for one “small problem, / couldn’t beat it. / Once she read a book… // SHE’D EAT IT!” Big, irregular die-cut chomps taken out of the cover and endpapers lead to cartoon illustrations featuring a frumpy, bespectacled long-necked dinosaur smilingly wolfing down stacks of generic library volumes. Ms. Bronte then goes on to the school’s other stashes of books as students and grown-ups (diverse in skin color and facial features but all human) look on in wide-eyed dismay. Is it a love of books? Not at all, as Ms. Bronte explains as she packs up to leave: “It’s not that I find books so yummy, / but nothing else here fills my tummy.” Fortunately, she suddenly realizes that the school’s overgrown soccer field, there all along but somehow going unnoticed, is in serious need of weeding…just the ticket for a hungry herbivore. This contrived twist combines with a vague moral about how books are for reading, not eating, to give Tarpley’s addition to the annals of bibliophagy a tentative air—particularly next to more robustly comedic variations on the theme, like Franziska Biermann’s The Fox Who Ate Books, translated by Shelley Tanaka (2016), or Emma Yarlett’s Nibbles stories.

Bland sauce: Others have dished up better. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: June 23, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5247-7168-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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Sometimes peace and quiet just isn’t in the cards…and that isn’t always a bad thing.

SHORTY & CLEM BLAST OFF!

From the Shorty & Clem series

The odd couple introduced in Shorty & Clem (2017) wrangle over a rocket kit.

The broad contrast in personalities between dinosaur Shorty and avian buddy Clem fuels this follow-up. Loud, extroverted, and unwilling to take “no” for an answer, Shorty really, really wants to help the quieter, more serious, and increasingly annoyed Clem assemble the model: “Come on, Clem. Please! Please! Please! Please!” Clem’s shouted “I do not need help!” finally drives the demanding dino away—but not for long, as a “CRASH!” leaves Clem, who is too short to set the rocket’s nose cone in place, sitting tearfully amid wreckage. “I need help.” What Clem gets is a comforting hug, then an assist from Shorty’s “handy bendy tail” to set the rocket to rights. Slack tells the tale in dialogue (with a few added sound effects), and he floats his chunky figures against a pale blue, blank background, which has the effect of focusing attention on their expressively drawn faces. With sophisticated pacing that practically guarantees chuckles, this should find fans with both older listeners and emergent readers alike.

Sometimes peace and quiet just isn’t in the cards…and that isn’t always a bad thing. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: July 31, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-242159-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: March 27, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2018

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A whimsical lesson in Mesozoic good manners, with an added treat for young STEM-winders.

BIGGER THAN YOU

Dinosaurs on the playground (and readers who might wish to join them) get schooled both in physics and in the pleasures of noncompetitive play.

Taking alternate ends of a log balanced on a round rock, a succession of ever larger dinos asserts supremacy over the playmate on the opposite end, smugly crowing “I’m bigger than you.” But the tantrum a bright red T. Rex throws after being outweighed by a brachiosaur brings a change of perspective in the form of a much-larger T. Rex: “And I’m your mother!” With parental help, the log is pushed so that only one end is elevated, thus converting it to a slide that puts all of the dinosaurs on the same footing. Using brushwork that evokes traditional East Asian ink drawings (according to the production note she uses Korean paper and paints), Kyung creates minimally detailed prehistoric scenes featuring a cast of slightly anthropomorphic but recognizable dinosaurs. They are all identified, along with size gradations ranging from “Big” through “Massive” and “Immense” to “Biggest,” in a closing gallery, which is followed by diagrams that explain, with a dollop of wry humor, the differences between a seesaw (“lever”) and a slide (“inclined plane”).

A whimsical lesson in Mesozoic good manners, with an added treat for young STEM-winders. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: July 31, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-268312-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Greenwillow

Review Posted Online: March 27, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2018

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