With its companion, durable, content-rich overviews likely to draw and engage board-book grads.


From the Do You Know? series

From France, a STEM-centric guide for younger dinophiles to dinosaur types, habits, characteristics, predecessors, descendants, and study.

Being printed on card stock between sturdy covers with rounded corners, this broad overview is set up to survive the heavy use it is likely to get from fledgling readers eager to know everything there is to know about the paleo-world. Though at least one of the four illustrators is overfond of googly eyes and all use a relatively muted palette of skin tones and patterns, the multiple dinos on display in each populous gallery are generally drawn with attention to distinctive physical details. They are sometimes shown in flight from a predator or even (neatly) chowing down on prey. Along with general commentary presented in one- or two-sentence bites, the dinosaurs each come with an identifying label and a plain-language caption that highlights action (“walking on two legs”) or a significant feature (“huge claws”). A side panel on each spread zeroes in on a special topic like “What did dinosaurs smell like?” with cross-references at the bottom, and each of the four topical chapters ends with a review quiz. A final chapter shows modern researchers at work in the field, a lab, a library, and elsewhere. The cartoon human figures there and between chapters nearly all look like children but are on closer looks diverse in age as well as sex and skin color. That also holds true in the co-published Oceans and Marine Life, by Stéphanie Babin and translated by Hardenberg.Despite a single chapter on marine animals and lots of marine flora and fauna in the art, this title is largely focused on human use. Besides spreads devoted to beaches and boats of various sorts, topics range from aquaculture and water sports to aquariums and related topics like pollution, conservation, and the water cycle.

With its companion, durable, content-rich overviews likely to draw and engage board-book grads. (map, timeline, index) (Informational picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: April 6, 2021

ISBN: 978-2-40802-467-3

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Twirl/Chronicle

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2021

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It’s a bit sketchy of historical detail, but it’s coherent, inspirational, and engaging without indulging in rapturous...


From the Little People, BIG DREAMS series

A first introduction to the iconic civil rights activist.

“She was very little and very brave, and she always tried to do what was right.” Without many names or any dates, Kaiser traces Parks’ life and career from childhood to later fights for “fair schools, jobs, and houses for black people” as well as “voting rights, women’s rights and the rights of people in prison.” Though her refusal to change seats and the ensuing bus boycott are misleadingly presented as spontaneous acts of protest, young readers will come away with a clear picture of her worth as a role model. Though recognizable thanks to the large wire-rimmed glasses Parks sports from the outset as she marches confidently through Antelo’s stylized illustrations, she looks childlike throughout (as characteristic of this series), and her skin is unrealistically darkened to match the most common shade visible on other African-American figures. In her co-published Emmeline Pankhurst (illustrated by Ana Sanfelippo), Kaiser likewise simplistically implies that Great Britain led the way in granting universal women’s suffrage but highlights her subject’s courageous quest for justice, and Isabel Sánchez Vegara caps her profile of Audrey Hepburn (illustrated by Amaia Arrazola) with the moot but laudable claim that “helping people across the globe” (all of whom in the pictures are dark-skinned children) made Hepburn “happier than acting or dancing ever had.” All three titles end with photographs and timelines over more-detailed recaps plus at least one lead to further information.

It’s a bit sketchy of historical detail, but it’s coherent, inspirational, and engaging without indulging in rapturous flights of hyperbole. (Picture book/biography. 5-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 7, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-78603-018-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Frances Lincoln

Review Posted Online: May 10, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2017

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There’s not much beyond the razzle-dazzle, but it’s got that in spades.



Intense hues light up a prehistoric parade.

It’s really all about the colors. The endpapers are twinned head-shot galleries captioned, in the front, with scientific names (“Tyrannosaurus rex”) and pronunciations and, in the rear, translations of same (“Tyrant Lizard King”). In between, Paul marches 18 labeled dinos—mostly one type per page or spread, all flat, white-eyed silhouettes posed (with occasional exceptions) facing the same way against inconspicuously stylized background. The text runs toward the trite: “Some dinosaurs were fast… / and other dinosaurs were slow.” But inspired by the fact that we know very little about how dinosaurs were decorated (according to a brief author’s note), Paul makes each page turn a visual flash. Going for saturated hues and vivid contrasts rather than complex patterns, he sets red-orange spikes like flames along the back of a mottled aquamarine Kentrosaurus, places a small purple-blue Compsognathus beneath a towering Supersaurus that glows like a blown ember, pairs a Giganotosaurus’ toothy head and crest in similarly lambent shades to a spotted green body, and outfits the rest of his cast in like finery. “Today you can see their bones at the museum,” he abruptly, inadequately, and simplistically concludes.

There’s not much beyond the razzle-dazzle, but it’s got that in spades. (Informational picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: April 17, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6698-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Dec. 11, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2018

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