Not the duo’s best, but fans will enjoy the effort.


From the There Was an Old Lady series

“There was an old scientist who swallowed a dinosaur. / I don’t know why she swallowed a dinosaur, but she went to explore.”

She swallows a fern to feed the saurian, then a rock and a pick and a dustpan. In between the old scientist’s gastronomical feats, two children, one tan-skinned and one light-skinned—ask each other questions or spout facts about dinosaurs and paleontology. “Fossils are rocks containing traces of the past.” “Evidence of plants and animals built to last!” The book, the latest of Colandro’s many takes on the “There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly” song, closes with the old scientist, the kids, and the dinosaurs visiting a museum of natural history. With a rhyme scheme that is often as strained as the conceit of the voracious old lady, Colandro makes another foray into nonfiction that is relatively light on facts (previous titles have explored holidays, the seasons, astronomy, and undersea life). Lee is again along to offer his signature bug-eyed and scribbly illustrations that can be a bit unnerving at times. The children’s rhyming banter in speech bubbles interrupts the old lady patter, making the whole at once familiar and clunky. Paleo facts and a scavenger hunt at the end might add to the instruction and the fun respectively. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Not the duo’s best, but fans will enjoy the effort. (Informational picture book. 6-10)

Pub Date: May 3, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-338-66840-7

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 11, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2022

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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...



“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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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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