A hit for dinosaur fans in the toddler set.

MY FIRST DINO-BASEBALL

From the Dino-Sports series

Dinos play ball!

In this board-book companion to Wheeler and Gott’s earlier Dino-Sports picture-book series, readers land smack-dab in the middle of an exhilarating baseball game featuring dinosaur characters. The opening pages read “Leather mitts. // Dino-bat. // Cleats on feet. // Baseball hat,” as the illustrations show a play-by-play: a Triceratops on the mound gearing up for a pitch; a hitter (a Baryonyx?) loading the bat, launching a shot, and running the bases; and two outfielders frantically returning the ball to the infield for the out. In this brisk fashion, the face-off between the herbivorous Green Sox and the carnivorous Rib-Eye Reds unfolds. There isn’t room in the brief text to depict a full nine innings, though both teams are shown playing offense and defense. At one point, Gott capitalizes on the sheer size of some dinosaurs by humorously placing what looks to be a towering Apatosaurus in the outfield. Later, this same gentle giant scores a run, delivering what some may see as an unlikely win for the plant-eating Sox. The spare, rhyming text, action-packed narrative, and colorful digital art combine for toddler-friendly fare. What could have read as an awkward switch to the past tense in one instance (“Pitcher throws. // Dino missed. // Try again. // Dino hits!”) is eased by Gott’s visual interpretation showing the baseball in the catcher’s mitt after the small dinosaur up to bat misses it.

A hit for dinosaur fans in the toddler set. (Board book. 0-3)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-72844-614-1

Page Count: 12

Publisher: Carolrhoda

Review Posted Online: Dec. 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2022

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A sweet reminder that love is best measured in actions.

TINY T. REX AND THE PERFECT VALENTINE

Even when well-intended plans go awry, sometimes “I love you” is plastered all over one’s face.

Tiny T. Rex wants to make the perfect valentine for friend Pointy, a stegosaurus. It’s a noble ideal, but perfection is more elusive than the little theropod realized. That’s the premise of this charming board book that succinctly celebrates love, friendship, aspiration, perseverance, limitations, and the notion that it’s the thought that counts—especially when it’s clearly reflected in effort. Like its protagonist, this book is small, but it’s rich in value and works on every level. The artwork has an elegant simplicity that beautifully balances color, personality, and clever detail. A panel of Tiny designing the card in chalk on a blackboard, for example, reveals the scale of the little dino’s intentions: a giant heart, ribbons, smaller hearts dangling from springs, heart-shaped balloons, and fireworks, all much larger than Tiny. The project is clearly a labor of love: Tiny sweats, tugging a bucket of paint—“Pointy’s favorite color!”—but the bucket spills on the artist, not the valentine. Trying to make the card “extra fancy,” Tiny is covered in glitter. Tiny rips, snips, and rerips, trying to make the perfect heart; misspells Pointy; and glues springs and hearts all over everything. When Tiny apologizes for having no valentine for Pointy, Pointy recognizes immediately that the perfect valentine is a friend like Tiny.

A sweet reminder that love is best measured in actions. (Board book. 1-5)

Pub Date: Dec. 29, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4521-8489-0

Page Count: 18

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: Jan. 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2021

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A witty addition to the long-running series.

THE DEEP END

From the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series , Vol. 15

The Wimpy Kid hits the road.

The Heffley clan has been stuck living together in Gramma’s basement for two months, waiting for the family home to be repaired, and the constant togetherness has been getting on everybody’s nerves. Luckily Greg’s Uncle Gary has a camper waiting for someone to use it, and so the Heffleys set off on the open road looking for an adventurous vacation, hoping the changing scenery will bring a spark back to the family unit. The winding road leads the Heffleys to a sprawling RV park, a setting teeming with possibilities for Greg to get up to his usual shenanigans. Greg’s snarky asides and misadventures continue to entertain. At this point the Wimpy Kid books run like a well-oiled machine, paced perfectly with witty lines, smart gags, and charming cartoons. Kinney knows just where to put a joke, the precise moment to give a character shading, and exactly how to get the narrative rolling, spinning out the oddest plot developments. The appreciation Kinney has for these characters seeps through the novels, endearing the Heffleys to readers even through this title, the 15th installment in a franchise boasting spinoffs, movies, and merchandise. There may come a time when Greg and his family overstay their welcome, but thankfully that day still seems far off.

A witty addition to the long-running series. (Humor. 7-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 27, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4197-4868-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: Nov. 24, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2020

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