Fine viewing, but more of an art exhibit than a systematic family history.


Recently discovered hints that most dinosaurs may have been feathered cap a gallery of prehistoric predecessors to today’s birds.

The presentation has more of a cobbled-together feel than Guiberson’s previous look at the deep past, The Greatest Dinosaur Ever (illustrated by Gennady Spirin, 2013). Despite the title, the book goes beyond feathers. Guiberson discusses how the colors of fossilized feathers can be deduced from the shapes of their microscopic melanosomes, but she also describes early appearances of other avian features such as wishbones and a two-legged stance. But that anatomical focus doesn’t extend to the illustrations, as in the dimly lit paintings, dinosaurs loom indistinctly, their colors muted and limbs tightly folded or otherwise angled so that structural details are hard to make out. Eoalulavis appears only as a few tiny figures winging past a pair of immense sauropods, and the towering ornithischian confronting a modern ostrich on the final spread isn’t identified at all. The portraits are arranged in rough chronological order, but there are no clues in text or pictures to the dinosaurs’ specific eras. Despite a reference to the “teeny wings” of Hesperornis and a few other breaks in tone, the author’s commentary is otherwise solid…until its grand but insupportable closing claim that birds now inhabit “every environment on Earth.”

Fine viewing, but more of an art exhibit than a systematic family history. (bibliography) (Informational picture book. 8-10)

Pub Date: March 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-8050-9828-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Nov. 11, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2015

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Adventures and misadventures, Old West style—but with dinos.


From the Dino Riders series , Vol. 1

Young Josh needs to up his ride if he’s going to win the Trihorn settlement’s 100th-anniversary Founders’ Day race and meet his hero, Terrordactyl Bill.

Set on the Lost Plains, where ranchers tend to herds of iguanodons, and horses (if there were any) would be easy pickings for the local predators, this series kickoff pits a brash lad and sidekick and schoolmates Sam and Abi against not only the requisite bully, but such fiercer adversaries as attacking pterodactyls. Josh’s first challenge after eagerly entering the race is finding a faster, nimbler steed than his steady but old gallimimus, Plodder. Along comes Charge—an aptly named, if not-quite-fully-trained triceratops with speed, brains, and, it turns out, a streak of loyalty that saves Josh’s bacon both here and in a simultaneously publishing sequel, How To Rope a Giganotosaurus, which prominently features T. Rex’s much larger cousin. Dare adds a map, as well as spot illustrations of rural Western types (Josh and Abi are white, Sam has dark skin and tightly curled hair) astride toothy, brightly patterned dinos. In both adventures Josh weathers regular encounters with dinosaur dung, snot, and gas as well as threats to life and limb to show up the aforementioned bully and emerge a hero.

Adventures and misadventures, Old West style—but with dinos. (Fantasy. 8-10)

Pub Date: April 4, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4926-4668-6

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Review Posted Online: Jan. 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2017

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A sensitive, discussable access point for children learning about Holocaust history.



The brave work of Irena Sendler, one of the righteous gentiles of World War II, is succinctly depicted in this new picture book.

“There are two kinds of people in this world, good and bad.” As a child, wise words from her father gave Irena a guiding principle to live by and prompted the adult Sendler to find ways to save 2,500 innocent Jewish children and babies from the horror of their Holocaust fate. She worked with a network of smugglers and shelters to hide them in carpentry boxes, vegetable sacks, and laundry piles, transporting them to orphanages and the homes of willing Christian foster families, recording the children’s names so they could be found later and burying her lists in the titular jars. And when she herself was imprisoned by the Nazis, Zegota, the Polish resistance group, bribed guards to free her so she could continue her important work. Digital and traditional art in opaque dark browns and grays illustrates the sinister period and shadowy existence of these saved children. Roy’s chronological narrative concentrates on the period from 1940 to 1944 and stresses Sendler’s heroism; it also includes invented scenes and dialogue, marking it as fiction.

A sensitive, discussable access point for children learning about Holocaust history. (afterword, author’s note, glossary, index, source notes) (Picture book. 8-10)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-62370-425-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Capstone Young Readers

Review Posted Online: May 18, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2015

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