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

THERE WAS AN OLD SCIENTIST WHO SWALLOWED A DINOSAUR!

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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Routine, bottom-shelf fare.

DINOSAURS

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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Overall, an appealing collection for readers who like superlatives.

LAND OF GIANTS

THE BIGGEST BEASTS THAT EVER ROAMED THE EARTH

Outsize animals have thrived in diverse environments since before the age of dinosaurs and can still be found today.

The prolific Gifford here introduces a selection of some of the largest reptiles, amphibians, mammals, fish, birds, and insects ever to live on Earth. The information is presented in topical spreads, with one to several big animals to a page. On the introductory spread, Gifford speculates about possible reasons for such extraordinary sizes. An accompanying illustration shows a brown-skinned scientist studying fossils in the field. Gifford’s selections are organized into three sections, covering animals of the past on land and in water followed by animals of today. Short descriptions of each animal make up most of the text. Each spread includes silhouettes comparing the sizes of the animals on the page to a human adult and child. A center gatefold shows a timeline of life on Earth, and a final spread introduces some smaller animals that are the largest of their kind (the goliath frog, the Komodo dragon). Gray’s illustrations feature colorful dinosaurs and accurately portrayed modern animals, many in appropriate environments. The clear organization and bite-sized chunks of information make this quite accessible to young lovers of animals past and present. No sources are provided, but a paleontologist is credited as consultant.

Overall, an appealing collection for readers who like superlatives. (index) (Nonfiction. 7-9)

Pub Date: Aug. 23, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-78312-850-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Welbeck Children's

Review Posted Online: May 11, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2022

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