The age-appropriate new vocabulary and the clever design will prompt hours of study by aspiring paleontologists; the sturdy...

DINOBLOCK

From the Block Books series

At a hefty 96 pages and 2 inches thick, this dinofest will be a challenge for little hands to lift, but the subject matter is sure to intrigue for longer than most board books.

“Meet the Dinosaurs” announces the banner across the opening illustration of a museum entrance. Then gatefolds open over 20 inches across with the questions “Who are the dinosaurs? Where are the dinosaurs?” below a museum diorama. Subsequent pages provide the answers using an effective formula: a one-line simile comparing a dinosaur to something a child might recognize, a die-cut page that highlights a characteristic of that dinosaur, then a page turn that reveals the name of the dinosaur and its phonetic pronunciation. The final gatefolds open to reveal the skeletons of each of the 23 dinosaurs introduced. A blonde Caucasian girl and a dark-skinned boy serve as the museum tour guides. Some of the comparisons are rather obscure; the spikes of a stegosaurus are compared to tents on a hill, for instance. The book will raise as many questions as it answers—for example, the dinosaurs are portrayed in varied colors, yet there is no explanation as to how scientists have determined their coloring or other features—paving the way for investigation of the topic in greater detail as readers age.

The age-appropriate new vocabulary and the clever design will prompt hours of study by aspiring paleontologists; the sturdy construction ensures the book will survive them. (Board book. 2-5)

Pub Date: June 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4197-1674-4

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Abrams Appleseed

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

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Plotless and pointless, the book clearly exists only because its celebrity author wrote it.

YOUR BABY'S FIRST WORD WILL BE DADA

A succession of animal dads do their best to teach their young to say “Dada” in this picture-book vehicle for Fallon.

A grumpy bull says, “DADA!”; his calf moos back. A sad-looking ram insists, “DADA!”; his lamb baas back. A duck, a bee, a dog, a rabbit, a cat, a mouse, a donkey, a pig, a frog, a rooster, and a horse all fail similarly, spread by spread. A final two-spread sequence finds all of the animals arrayed across the pages, dads on the verso and children on the recto. All the text prior to this point has been either iterations of “Dada” or animal sounds in dialogue bubbles; here, narrative text states, “Now everybody get in line, let’s say it together one more time….” Upon the turn of the page, the animal dads gaze round-eyed as their young across the gutter all cry, “DADA!” (except the duckling, who says, “quack”). Ordóñez's illustrations have a bland, digital look, compositions hardly varying with the characters, although the pastel-colored backgrounds change. The punch line fails from a design standpoint, as the sudden, single-bubble chorus of “DADA” appears to be emanating from background features rather than the baby animals’ mouths (only some of which, on close inspection, appear to be open). It also fails to be funny.

Plotless and pointless, the book clearly exists only because its celebrity author wrote it. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: June 9, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-250-00934-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2015

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Young dino fans will enjoy it, though their grown-ups may not.

NOISY DINOSAURS

From the My First Touch and Feel Sound Book series

What sounds did dinosaurs make? We don't really know.

Litton suggests some possibilities while introducing sophisticated vocabulary in a board-book format. Five dinosaurs are featured: Tyrannosaurus rex, Stegosaurus, Pterodactyl, Diplodocus, and Triceratops. For each species there is a brief description that highlights its distinctive features, followed by an invitation to hear and repeat the dinosaur's sound. There is no explanation for why scientists think T. Rex “roared,” Stegosaurus “howled,” Pterodactyl “screeched,” Diplodocus “growled,” or Triceratops “grunted.” The author tries to avoid sexism, carefully referring to two of the creatures as “she,” but those two are also described in stereotypically less-ferocious terms than the male dinos. The touch point on the Pterodactyl is a soft section of wing. Readers are told that Diplodocus “loved splashing in swamps,” and the instruction is to “tickle her tummy to hear her growl,” implying that this giant creature was gentle and friendly. None of this may matter to young paleontologists, who will enjoy finding the tactile section on each creature that triggers the sound. Despite extensive directions in small print, most parents and libraries won't bother to change the battery secured by a tiny hex screw, but while the battery lasts, the book will get lots of play.

Young dino fans will enjoy it, though their grown-ups may not. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-58925-207-3

Page Count: 12

Publisher: Tiger Tales

Review Posted Online: Aug. 5, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2016

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