A sparkling showcase with plenty to offer both art lovers and dinophiles.

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EXPRESS DELIVERY FROM DINOSAUR WORLD

A surrealistic vision of the Cretaceous Era, with visual puzzles for intrepid explorers to solve and surprises hidden under flaps.

Printed on creamy stock and linked by a tenuous plotline—a young woman named Dongdong, a student at a Beijing art school, receives a mysterious album from the past and falls in—the 10 gamelike “Adventures” challenge viewers on a variety of fronts. First they must traverse a thick “Forest of Illusion” and a difficult maze, then spot a cleverly hidden pterosaur in a canyon packed with dinos before moving on to other challenges, and finally escape a dark cave (printed on acetate sheets) with the help of a detachable “flashlight.” Along with depicting dozens of realistically detailed dinosaurs, Dong takes several side ventures into free-association territory, as in one spread with 18 different “eggs” whose contents, revealed by lifting flaps, range from fanciful monsters to dino-themed clouds, carvings, and pastries. Following two more pages of “egg” flaps at the end that pay droll stylistic tribute to René Magritte, Salvador Dali, Damien Hirst, Yayoi Kusama, and other modern artists, an attached booklet offers subtle visual keys to each Adventure.

A sparkling showcase with plenty to offer both art lovers and dinophiles. (Picture book. 7-10)

Pub Date: March 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-945295-00-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Candied Plums

Review Posted Online: Aug. 7, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2017

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A skimpy alternative to Adrian Lister and Martin Ursell’s Ice Age Tracker’s Guide (2010).

TOBY AND THE ICE GIANTS

A small bison meets some ice age megafauna in this prehistoric ramble.

Assuring his mom that “I’m big now. I’m not scared!” little Toby scampers off. He collides with a grumpy woolly rhinoceros, introduces himself to a Megatherium, wonders at a woolly mammoth’s tusks, and sidles anxiously past a handful of other Pleistocene creatures—including a group of fur-clad humans—before gamboling back to safety. Along with exchanged greetings, each encounter comes with a side box of descriptive facts and comments, plus a small image of the animal posed next to a human (in modern dress) for comparison. Young viewers will marvel at the succession of massive ruminants and predators, which Lillington renders in watercolors with reasonable accuracy, if anthropomorphic facial expressions. He offers measurements in metric units only (except for humans, whose weight is opaquely designated “average”). Rather anticlimactically, he caps his gallery with a perfunctory, unillustrated list of “some other amazing ice age animals that Toby didn’t get to meet!”

A skimpy alternative to Adrian Lister and Martin Ursell’s Ice Age Tracker’s Guide (2010). (Informational picture book. 7-9)

Pub Date: Aug. 11, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-909263-58-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Flying Eye Books

Review Posted Online: April 1, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2015

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Chewy fare for fans of polysyllabic monikers but not a top-shelf prospect in the struggle to survive.

THE DAWN OF PLANET EARTH

From the Prehistoric Field Guides series

A chatty lungfish leads a quick tour of life’s evolution, from Earth’s formation to the appearance of early mammals in the Triassic Period.

“Hi. My name is Ackerley. I’m an Acanthostega.” Following introductions and quick peeks at fossilization and continental drift, the colorfully mottled narrator highlights or at least mentions around a dozen extinct creatures. These range from millipedes “the size of crocodiles” and Opabinia—“If there were a prize for The Weirdest Creature That Ever Lived, Opabinia would be a hot favorite”— to the shrewlike Megazostrodon. Though rendered in close, sharp relief, usually with mouths threateningly open (at least for those animals with visible mouths), Minister’s page-filling, digitally modeled figures often sport a shiny, plastic look. The artificiality extends to an obtrusive absence of blood and gore despite attacks and toothy chomping aplenty here and also in the co-published Dinosaurs Rule. Moreover, both volumes share substantial passages of boilerplate and mention animals that have no corresponding portraits. The closing recaps and indexes are likewise incomplete.

Chewy fare for fans of polysyllabic monikers but not a top-shelf prospect in the struggle to survive. (Nonfiction. 7-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4677-6348-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Hungry Tomato/Lerner

Review Posted Online: June 6, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2015

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