EDWINA, THE DINOSAUR WHO DIDN’T KNOW SHE WAS EXTINCT

A fey foray into existentialism from an emerging master of whimsy. Edwina is the nicest possible dinosaur, who bakes chocolate-chip cookies for everyone and helps little old ladies across the street. Everyone loves her except Reginald Von Hoobie-Doobie, the worst kind of know-it-all who takes it upon himself to convince Edwina that she is extinct and thereby to force her out of existence. When his campaign to persuade everyone else falls flat, it is left to the perpetually sweet Edwina to lend a sympathetic ear. How does she take the news of her impossible existence? She, like everyone but Reginald, just doesn’t care. A muted palette and two-dimensional backgrounds firmly situate Willems’s cartoons in an imaginary world of childhood, Edwina herself a masterful creation complete with hat, pearls and handbag, Reginald and the other humans Feiffer-esque in the expressiveness of their body language. Is this a sly jab in the ribs at another preternaturally kind T. rex? Who cares? The just-right resolution is a tribute to the child’s rock-solid faith in how the world should be, not how it really is. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-7868-3748-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2006

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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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