Very young readers may get a bit restless, but the book should leave them amused—and maybe a little hungry.

T. REX TIME MACHINE

There’s a theory that human nature never changes. People have the same wants and needs, no matter what time period they live in. This rule is even more true for dinosaurs.

Dinosaurs are always hungry, at least on the evidence of this graphic novel–esque picture book for young readers. When two dinosaurs encounter a time traveler, in a historic moment, their first thought is to eat him. And when the time machine flings them into the future to a bustling city full of strip malls, they just keep on eating. Nearly the entire plot of the book is a catalog of food they enjoy. Dinosaurs love doughnuts and microwaved noodles. Their meals are interrupted from time to time by the local police, who are not pleased to see tyrannosaurs in the convenience store. (The police force, and the other residents of the city, are refreshingly multicultural.) The main characters are so single-minded that the story becomes repetitive, and a little aimless, but there are some pretty good jokes along the way (“Hey! T. Rexes! Put your tiny, baby hands in the air!”), and the language is surprisingly poetic. (One dinosaur describes a microwave as “the sun in a box.”) The art is also appealingly primitive (no pun intended). Each tyrannosaur is basically a collection of rectangles perched on one another.

Very young readers may get a bit restless, but the book should leave them amused—and maybe a little hungry. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 4, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4521-6154-9

Page Count: 44

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: June 25, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2018

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A rousing prelude to Aliki’s more detailed dino discourses, tailor-made for reading aloud.

DIG THOSE DINOSAURS

New and preliterate readers will happily clap along to the incantatory rhythms of this primary-level call to “dig, dig, dig”—in both senses of the word—dino fossils.

Using repetition and rhyme, Houran comments as paleontologists carefully excavate fossils from a site, wrap them up for shipment (“So big, big, big those dinosaurs / Big, big, big those dinosaurs…”), then lay them out in a museum lab (“Jig, jig, jigsaw dinosaurs”), to be assembled (“Rig, rig, rig…”) into a display with painted backdrops and finally surrounded by a flood of admiring museumgoers. With simplified but reasonable accuracy, Marquez depicts each stage of the process in softly modeled, harmoniously colored scenes, and her crew of paleontologists is diverse in both ethnicity and gender (although, sadly, the crew supervisor is a bespectacled white man). Both author and illustrator digestibly expand on each step of the process in a closing spread.

A rousing prelude to Aliki’s more detailed dino discourses, tailor-made for reading aloud. (Informational picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: March 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-8075-1579-2

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Whitman

Review Posted Online: Dec. 1, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2012

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Stronger bedtime and alien books abound in the universe of children’s literature.

OUTER SPACE BEDTIME RACE

A melding of fact and fiction strives to present a bedtime lesson on the solar system.

Two earthling children drift off to sleep as the book opens, and successive spreads describe the bedtime routines of sleepy little extraterrestrials on Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto. Endpapers underscore the title’s reference to a “race” by depicting the planets as first-through-ninth–place medals according to their respective distances from the sun. This seems to refer more to solar years instead of days with regard to the measurement of the time (how long it takes to travel around the sun, versus how long it takes for a day to pass), which muddies the bedtime theme a bit. After all, planetary days are dictated by rotation and vary in length without necessarily corresponding to the annual “race” around the sun. Backmatter entitled “Sleepy Bedtime Planet Factoids” help to ground the text in scientific facts about the planets, but this can’t fully mitigate how stumbling rhymes and twee wordplay grate—“Uranus is a gassy place. / They sleep with masks stuck to each face.” Won’s digital artwork has a retro sensibility. An isolated inclusion of a brown-skinned boy on the second spread smacks of tokenism, since all other representations of human children depict the same Caucasian boys (the children of Neptune display more diversity by comparison).

Stronger bedtime and alien books abound in the universe of children’s literature. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Jan. 27, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-38647-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Oct. 1, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2014

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