The sharply defined realism of Steve Jenkins’ Prehistoric Actual Size (2005) may be absent, but young dinophiles will still...


A rare opportunity to go nose to nose with Diplodocus, measure a human shoe against the fossil footprint of Allosaurus, and like dino-encounters.

Following her up-close survey of modern creatures in Lifesize (2018), Henn goes prehistoric in the same 1-foot-square format. She alternates big, broadly brushed images of fossil or fleshed-out body parts (or a gathering of eggs on one spread) with pulled-back views of each creature in a broader setting accompanied by breathless commentary: “To be this completely GINORMOUS Diplodocus had to eat A LOT.” Said commentary is light on specific facts (though she does properly note that Pteranodon and Albertonectes were reptiles but not true dinosaurs), but she closes with a slightly more informative minigallery. A particularly sharp-looking Utahraptor claw (“OUCH!”) and multiple appearances or mentions of Allosaurus lead up to a climactic gander at the toothy grin of Tyrannosaurus rex—placed on a double gatefold and therefore a full 4 feet long. “Say cheese!” Although several of the creatures are depicted with feathers, Henn’s palette mostly hews to mud and moss colors, so despite the stunning close-up views, the book has an overall subdued look.

The sharply defined realism of Steve Jenkins’ Prehistoric Actual Size (2005) may be absent, but young dinophiles will still roar. (Informational picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: June 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-61067-885-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Kane Miller

Review Posted Online: April 10, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2019

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Unwieldy for library use; just right for little hands and big (really big) laps.


A separate small hardcover volume about small dinosaurs nestles in the front cover of a much, much larger album of their humongous cousins.

Each part of this Italian import features 18 spread-filling dinosaurs in side views, tricked out by Cosanti in loud, saturated colors or patterns and posed for scale with a remarkably calm white chicken against the same tropical backdrop. The effect is a bit surreal, as the dinos and the prehistoric foliage have the thick, rounded look and fuzzy surfaces of stuffed toys, but the weight and bulk of the looming creatures in the superoversized volume—and the lithe grace of most of their often feathered smaller relatives in the diminutive one—do come through vividly enough to make strong impressions on viewers. Each portrait comes with an identifying label and a descriptive comment. Along with being admittedly speculative, several of the latter are afflicted with translation issues. Still, even expert dinophiles are likely to find mixed in with the usual suspects a surprising number of unfamiliar species, such as Magnapaulia, Therizinosaurus, and Parvicursor. In like packaging, The Big Book of Giant Sea Creatures and the Small Book of Tiny Sea Creatures portrays in the two parts 36 brightly hued, often exotic saltwater denizens, from the ½-inch anemone shrimp to 110-foot blue whale and 130-foot giant siphonophore. An intrepid clownfish (sometimes, understandably, hard to spot) provides a sense of scale in each portrait, and accompanying comments offer notes on sizes, habitats, and like helpful points.

Unwieldy for library use; just right for little hands and big (really big) laps. (Informational picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 14, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-62795-157-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Shelter Harbor Press

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

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Routine, bottom-shelf fare.


Imported from France, a gallery of dinosaurs and prehistoric reptiles, animated by pop-ups, spinners, and pull-tabs.

A pair of oversimplifications—that dinosaurs “no longer exist” but “entire skeletons” can be viewed in museums—starts the survey off with a resounding thud. Following this, in a disconnected ramble, topical spreads deal with the science of paleontology, the life cycle of Saltasaurus from egg to adult, defense mechanisms, big dinos, and, for an abrupt close, sea life. Some dinos feature feathers or crests in a low-contrast second color, but most are monochrome and all so simplified in form that, for instance, there’s almost no discernible difference between dull-hued Diplodocus and Brachiosaurus, immediately above it. The interactions are no great shakes either. Except for an initial spread-spanning folded flap, the pop-ups are printed on only one side, and the swings of the pull-tab tails of Ankylosaurus and Diplodocus aren’t even slightly realistic. Flora and fauna feel arbitrarily placed, and some feature unhelpfully generic labels such as “school of fish,” or “rodents” rather than actual identifiers. The co-published Firefighters, written by Anne-Sophie Baumann and illustrated by Benjamin Bécue, opens with an exploding building but otherwise offers a similarly flat assortment of general facts and low-rent special effects. In both volumes human figures, where they appear, are diverse in gender presentation, age, and skin color.

Routine, bottom-shelf fare. (Informational pop-up picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 4, 2018

ISBN: 979-1-02760-428-9

Page Count: 14

Publisher: Twirl/Chronicle

Review Posted Online: July 24, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2018

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