A manic but solid series kickoff.


From the Everything Awesome About… series

A cartoon history of dinosaurs and contemporary creatures, largely hand lettered and (mostly, anyway) colored inside the lines.

Moot the titular hyperbole may be, but it does capture the tone as Lowery sandwiches a populous parade of very simply drawn dinos between a history of prehistory and a roundup of diverse topics, from what paleontologists do to sets of dinosaur jokes and “A Few Kinda Weird (and Unlikely!) Dino Extinction Theories.” Jokes and gags (“Why did the Archaeopteryx get the worm?” “Because it was an early bird!”) are scattered throughout along with side remarks (“Not another mass extinction!”), as are identifying labels with phonetic pronunciations (Gorgonopsia: “GOR-ga-NOP-see-a”) and cogent if dude!-ish observations: “These small weirdos…had one long claw-thing for catching stuff to eat”; “More time passed between Stegosaurus and T. Rex than the time between Velociraptor and microwavable pizza!” Better yet, though true dinosaurs hold the spotlight, flying and marine reptiles, early mammals, and other fabulous early fauna take such frequent star turns that along with infobites galore, readers will come away with a fairly sound understanding of just how dinosaurs fit into the whole history of life on this planet. Human figures of diverse hue occasionally step into view to offer comments or wisecracks.

A manic but solid series kickoff. (bibliography, drawing lessons) (Nonfiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-35972-5

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Orchard/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2019

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The poetry and prose form more of an uneasy détente than an integrated whole, but the comical pictures and the wordplay in...



“Trilobites the Dust,” and so do the rest of a cast of extinct creatures in this sequel (prequel?) to Last Laughs: Animal Epitaphs (2012).

In chronological order from the Paleozoic to the Cenozoic eras, dinosaurs, prehistoric reptiles, and early mammals offer memento mori in pithy verse. “Iguanodon, Alas Long Gone,” for example runs: “Iguano dawned, / Iguano dined, / Iguano done, / Iguano gone.” With similar brevity, “Plesiosaur Sticks His Neck Out” of Loch Ness and has it chopped through by a Pict (a footnote admits the anachronism), and unknown agents leave “Pterrible Pterosaur Pterminated.” In later times, a saber-toothed cat (“Tiger, tiger, hunting bright / near the tar pits, late at night”), a dire wolf, and a woolly mammoth are all depicted trapped in the gooey muck. Each poem comes with an explanatory note, and a prose afterword titled “A Little About Layers” discusses how the fossil record works. Timmins reflects this secondary informational agenda in his illustrations without taking it too seriously—providing a spade-bearded, popeyed paleontologist who resembles a spud in shape and color to usher readers through galleries of fossil remnants or fleshed-out specimens meeting their ends with shocked expressions.

The poetry and prose form more of an uneasy détente than an integrated whole, but the comical pictures and the wordplay in these dino demises provide sufficient lift. (Picture book/poetry. 7-10)

Pub Date: Oct. 10, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-58089-706-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017

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Overall, an appealing collection for readers who like superlatives.



Outsize animals have thrived in diverse environments since before the age of dinosaurs and can still be found today.

The prolific Gifford here introduces a selection of some of the largest reptiles, amphibians, mammals, fish, birds, and insects ever to live on Earth. The information is presented in topical spreads, with one to several big animals to a page. On the introductory spread, Gifford speculates about possible reasons for such extraordinary sizes. An accompanying illustration shows a brown-skinned scientist studying fossils in the field. Gifford’s selections are organized into three sections, covering animals of the past on land and in water followed by animals of today. Short descriptions of each animal make up most of the text. Each spread includes silhouettes comparing the sizes of the animals on the page to a human adult and child. A center gatefold shows a timeline of life on Earth, and a final spread introduces some smaller animals that are the largest of their kind (the goliath frog, the Komodo dragon). Gray’s illustrations feature colorful dinosaurs and accurately portrayed modern animals, many in appropriate environments. The clear organization and bite-sized chunks of information make this quite accessible to young lovers of animals past and present. No sources are provided, but a paleontologist is credited as consultant.

Overall, an appealing collection for readers who like superlatives. (index) (Nonfiction. 7-9)

Pub Date: Aug. 23, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-78312-850-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Welbeck Children's

Review Posted Online: May 11, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2022

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