A manic but solid series kickoff.

EVERYTHING AWESOME ABOUT DINOSAURS AND OTHER PREHISTORIC BEASTS

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...

LAST LAUGHS

PREHISTORIC EPITAPHS

“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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Thin in spots, but both topic and author come with vast built-in audiences.

DINOSAURS

FACT AND FABLE

An abbreviated overview of the dino-world, as currently conceived and studied.

Best regarded as a shortened, revised, and reillustrated update to New Questions and Answers About Dinosaurs, illustrated by Jennifer Owings Dewey (1990), this outing pairs a zippy selection of color photos and paleo-art to a brisk recap of basic facts, with particular focus on recent theories and discoveries. Drifting into and out of a Q&A format, the book covers a broad range of topics including dinosaur hips and feathers, what paleontologists and fossils are, and new technology for finding and studying the latter. He goes on to highlight seven standard-issue “Dino-Stars,” discuss the “asteroid” and “volcano” extinction theories (properly suggesting that both may be correct), then closes by reaffirming that, yes, birds really belong to the theropod family. The pictures are consistently apt and occasionally arresting, ranging from a close-up of Velociraptor avidly chasing a frantic-looking small mammal to views of scientists at work (most White). If “the Stegosaurus State” is not Colorado’s nickname (not on any official list, anyway), and a quaint claim that T. rex was the largest carnivorous dinosaur will have young Spinosaurus fans howling in protest, still this offers an easily readable road map of the field for younger dinophiles. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10-by-20-inch double-page spreads viewed at 75% of actual size.)

Thin in spots, but both topic and author come with vast built-in audiences. (index, reading list) (Informational picture book. 8-10)

Pub Date: Nov. 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-247063-8

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2020

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