WHEN DINOSAURS CAME WITH EVERYTHING

What if one day every merchant in town offered up, and indeed, insisted that shoppers take home a live dinosaur (free) with every purchase? That’s what happens to a boy and his mother in this sweet, absurd story that unfolds very much like a dream—or a nightmare, depending on the reader’s perspective on having a large dinosaur as a pet. In Small’s comical, wonderfully expressive watercolor-and-ink drawings, it’s easy to identify the mother’s reaction to the bonus triceratops (free with a dozen doughnuts); stegosaurus (from the doctor instead of stickers); and pterosaur (from the barber instead of the usual balloon): unmitigated horror, inversely proportionate to her son’s delight. The hulking beasts are irresistibly endearing, though, as they wait patiently, doglike, for their new owners outside all the town establishments and ultimately, once at home in the family’s backyard, prove their worth as household laborers, cleaning gutters and rescuing far-flung Frisbees. In the end, the boy’s friends bring their own newly acquired dinos over to his house for a poolside party—and he knows Mom has truly come around when she calls the baker for more doughnuts. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 25, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-689-86922-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2007

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DANCING DINOS GO TO SCHOOL

Half a dozen lime-green dinosaurs are the stars of this delightful easy reader that offers most of the best qualities of the genre: rhyming text, a jolly rhythm, funny characters and lots of action. The well-written, brief text follows the dancing dinosaurs in a school-library setting as they dance right out of the pages of an open book and into mischief around the school and playground. The librarian, an African-American woman with glasses, and one male student follow the dinosaurs, but the action focuses firmly on the out-of-control dinosaurs. Though this is intended for new readers who are just starting to sound out words, both the storyline and appealing art are strong enough to work as a read-aloud for younger children as well. These dancing dinos have legs, and they ought to pop back out of their book for more rollicking adventures for new readers. (Easy reader. 4-7)

Pub Date: July 11, 2006

ISBN: 0-375-83241-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2006

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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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