Children who gawp at dinosaur exhibits will realize a new appreciation for those who devote their lives to finding and...

BARNUM'S BONES

HOW BARNUM BROWN DISCOVERED THE MOST FAMOUS DINOSAUR IN THE WORLD

Presenting Barnum Brown, who, from the time he was named for circus impresario P.T., was destined to do unusual, important things.

Obsessed from childhood with fossils—and blessed with an uncanny knack for finding them—Brown began hunting dinosaurs in the American West in the late 19th century. He was hired by New York’s Museum of Natural History to find specimens, since that institution had no dinosaur collection at the time. Discover them Brown did, though he didn’t unearth any new species—until, after several years of painstaking labor, he discovered the bones, including an intact skull, of the new creature he’d longed to find, later dubbed Tyrannosaurus rex. His “favorite child” took the world by storm, and the dapper Brown, in a career spanning more than six decades, went on to discover more dinosaur fossils than anyone. Fern fills her text with all the salient facts but uses a breezy, humorous, awestruck voice that strikes just the right tone in telling the story of this fascinating, quirky scientist. Kulikov’s wittily energetic, earth-toned watercolors enliven the text and add to the fun and interest.

Children who gawp at dinosaur exhibits will realize a new appreciation for those who devote their lives to finding and resurrecting extraordinary animals from eons past. And who doesn’t love T. rex? (author’s note, bibliography) (Informational picture book. 7-11)

Pub Date: May 22, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-374-30516-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Margaret Ferguson/Farrar, Straus & Giroux

Review Posted Online: March 7, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2012

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26 FAIRMOUNT AVENUE

            The legions of fans who over the years have enjoyed dePaola’s autobiographical picture books will welcome this longer gathering of reminiscences.  Writing in an authentically childlike voice, he describes watching the new house his father was building go up despite a succession of disasters, from a brush fire to the hurricane of 1938.  Meanwhile, he also introduces family, friends, and neighbors, adds Nana Fall River to his already well-known Nana Upstairs and Nana Downstairs, remembers his first day of school (“ ‘ When do we learn to read?’  I asked.  ‘Oh, we don’t learn how to read in kindergarten.  We learn to read next year, in first grade.’  ‘Fine,’ I said.  ‘I’ll be back next year.’  And I walked right out of school.”), recalls holidays, and explains his indignation when the plot of Disney’s “Snow White” doesn’t match the story he knows.  Generously illustrated with vignettes and larger scenes, this cheery, well-knit narrative proves that an old dog can learn new tricks, and learn them surpassingly well.  (Autobiography.  7-9)

Pub Date: April 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-399-23246-X

Page Count: 58

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 1999

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Reads like a grown-up’s over-the-top effort to peddle a set of kid-friendly premises—a notion that worked for the author’s...

THE CHRISTMASAURUS

A boy asks Santa for a dinosaur and gets a life-changing experience.

Cribbing freely from any number of classic Christmas stories and films, musician/vlogger Fletcher places his 10-year-old protagonist, William, who uses a wheelchair, at the head of an all-white human cast that features his widowed dad, a girl bully, and a maniacal hunter—plus a dinosaur newly hatched from an egg discovered in the North Pole’s ice by Santa’s elves. Having stowed away on Santa’s sleigh, Christmasaurus meets and bonds with William on Christmas Eve, then, fueled by the power of a child’s belief, flies the lad to the North Pole (“It’s somewhere between Imagination and Make-Believe”) for a meeting with the jolly toymaker himself. Upon his return William gets to see the hunter (who turns out to be his uncle) gun down his dad (who survives), blast a plush dinosaur toy to bits, and then with a poster-sized “CRUNCH! GULP!” go down Christmasaurus’ hatch. In the meantime (emphasis on “mean”), after William spots his previously vicious tormenter, Brenda Payne, crying in the bushes, he forgives trespasses that in real life would have had her arrested and confined long ago. Seemingly just for laffs, the author tosses in doggerel-speaking elves (“ ‘If it’s a girl, can we call her Ginny?’ / ‘I think it’s a boy! Look, he’s got a thingy!’ ”) and closes with further lyrics and a list of 10 (secular) things to love about Christmas. Devries adds sugary illustrations or spot art to nearly every spread.

Reads like a grown-up’s over-the-top effort to peddle a set of kid-friendly premises—a notion that worked for the author’s The Dinosaur That Pooped a Planet (2017), but not here. (Fantasy. 9-11)

Pub Date: Oct. 23, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5247-7330-4

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: July 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2018

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