A most excellent adventure, with more (Hint: Can you say “Aaarrrgh!”?) to come.

T. REX TIME MACHINE

DINOS IN DE-NILE

A feckless pair of time-traveling T. Rexes make a stopover in ancient Egypt.

Between the burning-hot sands and the crocodile-infested river, it’s shaping up to be a bummer of an outing—until young Tut happens along and, mistaking one of the dinos for Sobek, god of the Nile, declares himself a fanboy. From then on it’s all parties and feasting aboard the royal yacht, with tours of landmarks ranging from the Library of Alexandria (“And this is where I check out all your comic books”) to the Sphinx (“a practical joke that got out of hand”). This goes on until, that is, the extraterrestrials who “come down every couple of weeks to work on that triangle project” catch sight of the opportunistic visitors and dash the divinity bit with some Cretaceous Era selfies. Uh oh, time to jump back into the time machine for a quick, random getaway. Next stop (as the final scene suggests) is definitely not Kansas. Chapman floats blocky figures of the voracious visitors, their diversely brown human hosts, and hairless blue ETs clad in uniforms strongly reminiscent of Star Trek’s against very simple, often monochromatic backgrounds, leaving plenty of space for gags and banter. He also slips in an easter egg, having the real Sobek and archenemy Drought duke it out in a minicomic printed inside the dust jacket.

A most excellent adventure, with more (Hint: Can you say “Aaarrrgh!”?) to come. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4521-6155-6

Page Count: 44

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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Gift items for confirmed young enthusiasts, with a substantial but not wearisome informational load.

DINOSAURS

From the Smithsonian Young Explorers series

In lunchbox-style packaging, a booklet of dino facts and a prehistoric panorama are presented on both a folded poster and a jigsaw puzzle.

Strother devotes 10 of her 32 pages to ornithischian, or bird-hipped, dinosaurs (correctly noting that they are not the ancestors of modern birds). She also manages to survey the Mesozoic Era in general, introduce a few theropods, describe fossilization, and present up-to-date information about dinosaur colors and extinction theories. All of this is crammed onto thematic spreads with small paintings and photos of fossils or generic images of fleshed-out reconstructions in minimally detailed settings. Francis contributes a collective portrait of dinosaurs of diverse size and period posing together over a labeled timeline. This can be hung up and, as a 130-piece jigsaw, assembled. Also available from the same author and illustrator, and likewise in a round-corned box with a carrying handle and snap close, is Oceans, a densely populated dive into the deep.

Gift items for confirmed young enthusiasts, with a substantial but not wearisome informational load. (Informational novelty. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-62686-145-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Silver Dolphin

Review Posted Online: Oct. 6, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2014

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A bland but amiable iteration.

THE WONDROUS DINOSAURIUM

Yet another child learns that dinosaurs make exciting, if chancy, pets.

On the prowl for a pet, Danny walks past shop windows displaying puppies and kittens to enter the titular storefront…where “Mr. Ree, purveyor of prehistoric pets,” offers him any dino he might desire. Unfortunately his first pick, Diplodocus longus, eats half a ton of veggies per day; his second, Tyrannosaurus rex (“Ooh, brave choice”), is too, well, “drooly”; and later ones—unnamed but brightly patterned, smiling, and recognizably depicted in Brown’s cartoon scenes—prove likewise impractical or unsatisfactory. (Confirmed dinophiles might be able to tag the unidentified beasts, but there is no key for paleontological newbies.) Condon works the well-worn premise to a happy resolution, as the pet Danny finally brings home in a box turns out to be not an ordinary tortoise, as his mother thinks at first sight, but a spiky-tailed, tortoiselike Meiolania from the Middle Miocene, small enough to pick up…at first, anyway. Aside from a background figure in one scene, the human cast is uniformly white. José Carlos Andrés and Ana Sanfelippo’s Adopting a Dinosaur (2019), Jason Cockcroft’s How To Take Care of Your Dinosaur (2019), and Diego Vaisberg’s Dino (2018) are but three recent examples of the superior treatments available.

A bland but amiable iteration. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: April 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-84886-474-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Maverick Publishing

Review Posted Online: Dec. 18, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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