Elem. – Drawing Outdoors

Buitrago, Jairo. Drawing Outdoors. Greystone Kids. 2022. 978-1-771-64847-9. $18.95. Grades K-3.

In many places, schools may have a gym, library, computers, and a playground. Deep in the mountains, however, is an extraordinary school that is a little bit different. It does not have the items a typical school would have. It does have an amazing teacher who leads the class outside on a drawing adventure. What will they draw? Why dinosaurs of course!

THOUGHTS: A unique book about a drawing adventure! What student would not want to go outdoors to draw dinosaurs? A fun story that young dinosaur lovers will enjoy.

Picture Book            Rachel Burkhouse, Otto-Eldred SD

Elem. – Eggasaurus

Wagh, Jennifer. Eggasaurus. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2022. 978-1-534-45006-6. Unpaged. $17.99. K-3.

When Max receives a shipment of dinosaur eggs from Eggasaurus, Inc., his dad tells him he must send them back. However, through a series of miscommunications, Max actually ends up receiving additional dinosaur eggs, gift certificates, and even dinosaur supplies. Ultimately, Max and his dad have to take an alternative approach to dealing with the newly hatched dinosaurs. Written entirely as a series of back-and-forth letters between Max and Eggasaurus, Inc., this comical story will have readers giggling and rooting for Max and his dinosaurs.

THOUGHTS: This would be a great resource to introduce kids to letter writing. Pair it with other classic stories that include letters, such as Drew Daywalt’s The Day the Crayons Quit (2013) or Allan Ahlberg’s The Jolly Postman (1986). Another option would be to hand this story to any dinosaur lover. The hilarious breakdown in communication throughout the story is sure to delight any young reader.

Picture Book          Julie Ritter, PSLA Member

Elem. – Thunder and Cluck: The Brave Friend Leads the Way

Esbaum, Jill. Thunder and Cluck: The Brave Friend Leads the Way. Simon & Schuster, 2021. 978-1-534-48655-3. 64 p. $17.99. Grades K-2. 

Meet Thunder and Cluck, two unlikely friends that are prehistoric dinosaurs. The Brave Friend Leads the Way is the second book in the Ready to Read Graphics Thunder and Cluck series written by Jill Esbaum. In this graphic novel, it is a hot miserable day. Thunder and Cluck find a dark and cool cave that could provide relief from the heat. The question is, which friend will be brave enough to lead the way inside the cool, yet mysterious cave? Thunder and Cluck are goofy and lovable and make the perfect friends to adventure together. This beginner graphic novel is vibrant, attractive, and fun to read!

THOUGHTS: This graphic novel series is perfect for early readers. Each book has an introduction message for the readers that teaches and explains how to read a graphic novel. The easy-to-follow panels, the speech bubbles, and the accessible vocabulary is genuinely spot-on with a relatable storyline. Love this collection! I hope there are more in the series in the future! 

Graphic Novel          Marie Mengel, Reading SD

Elem. – How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodbye?

Yolen, Jane and Mark Teague. How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodbye? Scholastic Press, 2021. 978-1-338-36335-7. 40 p. $17.99. PreK-2.

How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodbye is the latest book in the How Do Dinosaurs companion series, and it has all the laughter and lessons of the other books in the series. This one shows how dinosaurs react to either their loved ones leaving, or when they have to leave to go somewhere. It shows how the dinosaurs face their fears of goodbyes and are able to tell the adults in their life how they feel.

THOUGHTS: A great addition to the How Do Dinosaurs series. The illustrations are really well done throughout the book and give the reader a lot to look at while reading. 

Picture Book          Mary McEndree, Lehigh Valley Regional Charter Academy

Elem. – Fascinating Facts (Series NF)

Fascinating Facts. The Child’s World, 2021. $19.95 ea. $239.40 set of 12. 24 p. Grades 2-5. 

Kruesi, Liz. Inventions. 978-1503844698.
—. Space. 978-1503844636.
Lassieur, Allison. Natural Disasters. 978-1503844681.
—. Scary Stuff. 978-1503844704.
Pearson, Marie. Dogs. 978-1503844629.
Peterson, Sheryl. U.S. Presidents. 978-1503844599.
Smibert, Angie. Engineering. 978-1503844612.
—. Math. 978-1503844643.
York, M.J. Dinosaurs. 978-11503844667.
. Earth. 978-1503844650.
—. History. 978-1503844605.
—. Human Body. 978-1503844674.

Did you know that Theodore Roosevelt had a photographic memory? Or that Chester Arthur was a clotheshorse who owned 80 pairs of shoes? These are just some of the presidential tidbits shared in the U.S. Presidents volume of the Fascinating Facts series. Each volume explores unusual and unique facts and stories on a given subject. Facts are grouped together by chapter (for example, the U.S. Presidents book chapters included “Life in the White House,” “First Families,” and “Strange but True Tales.”) The text is accompanied by numerous sidebars as well as photos on each page. A glossary as well as links to web resources are also included.

THOUGHTS: Perfect for aficionados of fact-style books, this series is a worthwhile additional purchase for elementary collections.

363.34-973.09 Science, Math, Animals, History          Elizabeth Henry, Lampeter-Strasburg SD  

The world is a mysterious place, filled with lots of unique and bizarre stories! This series focuses on some of the most odd stories of the world, including stories about the human body, space, natural disasters, and scary stuff. The Reviewer read Natural Disasters and Scary Stuff. Natural Disasters showcases some of the most iconic types of natural disasters, including earthquakes and tsunamis, volcanoes, tornadoes, and hurricanes. Each section of this book describes what the natural disaster is, in addition to presenting unique stories about each. Scary Stuff displays some of the most iconic scary items found throughout the world, such as vampires and werewolves! Scary Stuff shares some legends of these scary items, in addition to ways to prevent and/or save yourself from the monsters that go bump in the night.

THOUGHTS: This series is very well done. It includes a lot of information that is presented with colorful visuals and pictures, both photographs and illustrations.

363.34-973.09                    Rachel Burkhouse, Otto-Eldred SD

Elem. – Theo Thesaurus: The Dinosaur Who Loved Big Words

Johannes, Shelli R. Theo Thesaurus: The Dinosaur Who Loved Big Words. Illustrated by Mike Moran. Philomel Books, 2021. Unpaged. 978-0-593-20551-8 $17.99 Grades K-2.

Theo and his parents are migrating, and his parents are excited, but Theo is worried about joining a new class where no one knows him. He and his parents are a special species of dinosaurs called Thesauruses–self-described ‘logo maniacs’ or word-lovers. Sure enough, Theo’s big words create a barrier between him and his new classmates. He tries to be friendly.  “Salutations!” he greets them; ‘Could you lead me to the athenaeum (library)?” in class; “Care for a crudite (raw snack)?” at lunch; “want to play conceal and search (hide and seek)?” at recess. Everything leads to misconceptions and confusion.  He keeps trying, even inviting them: “I request your attendance to celebrate the anniversary of my hatching.” When the birthday party arrives, but no friends do, Theo tries several words to describe his emotions but discovers he is speechless.  Then the doorbell rings and his classmates arrive, shouting, “Salutations!” Theo and his parents are equally excited to party with his new friends.

THOUGHTS: This is a cute concept, but the words used require explaining to K-2 readers for them to fully understand the humor. Also, Theo’s parents want to be helpful (but seem to miss the mark), while it is unclear what changes the minds of Theo’s classmates. A glossary of Theo’s “thesaurus” style words is included. Supplemental purchase.

Picture Book          Melissa Scott, Shenango Area SD

Elem. – Never Show a T.Rex a Book

Sirdeshpande, Rashmi. Never Show a T.Rex a Book. 1st American ed., Kane Miller, 2021. 978-1-684-64159-8. Unpaged. $12.99. Grades K-3.

A young girl finds that chaos ensues when she teaches her dinosaur how to read. Written in the same style as Laura Numeroff’s If You Give… series, this imaginative book portrays countless if/then scenarios that will delight young readers–and maybe even encourage them to envision some scenarios of their own. A heartwarming tale about the transformative magic of reading, kids will be begging to re-read this book over and over again.

THOUGHTS: The illustrations in this book are gorgeous, and I love that they portray a multicultural cast of characters. I should note that because this was originally published in England, there are a few pages that may require some clarification for young children; for instance, one page states that the newly educated dinosaur might just become the prime minister. Fans of Laura Numeroff will adore this book, as will dinosaur lovers and avid readers.

Picture Book          Julie Ritter, PSLA Member

Elem. – Dinosaurs Roar & Sea Creatures Swim

Jenkins, Steve. Dinosaurs Roar. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2020. 978-0-358-04055-2. Unpaged. $8.99. Grades PreK-K.

Jenkins, Steve. Sea Creatures Swim. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2020. 978-0-358-04056-9. Unpaged. $8.99. Grades PreK-K.

In these informational board books, Caldecott-Honor awardee Steve Jenkins introduces young readers to various dinosaurs and sea creatures. Each two-page spread includes beautiful, bright cut-paper illustrations with one sentence about the animals in the illustration.  Readers then open the flap to a three-tile full illustration and fact about the featured animal. In Dinosaurs Roar, he highlights lesser known dinosaurs like Titanosaurus and Spinosaurus. In Sea Creatures Swim, he looks at movement of the animals and why they do certain things like surface for air or jump from water. Each book also features a cut top associated with the subject; Dinosaurs Roar has a jagged edge like a dinosaur bit the book, and Sea Creatures Swim has a rolling top like waves in the ocean.

THOUGHTS:  These board books for toddlers and preschoolers are beautifully illustrated and the design encourages interaction with the book.

Board Book          Erin Bechdel, Beaver Area SD
Animals, Dinosaurs

Elem. – We Will Rock Our Classmates

THOUGHTS: This followup to We Don’t Eat Our Classmates is sure to be loved by fans of Higgins’ work, and children will delight with the humorous story. A must have for elementary collections, social emotional learning lessons, or read alouds. You’ll have difficulty reading this one without giggling yourself!

Picture Book          Maryalice Bond, South Middleton SD

 

Elem. – The Girl and the Dinosaur

Hughes, Hollie. The Girl and the Dinosaur. Bloomsbury Children’s Books, 2020. 978-1-547-60322-0. 32 p. $17.99. Grades K-3.

In a town by the sea, Marianne spends her days digging for dinosaurs on the sandy beach. Nearby fisherfolk worry that the solitary girl should try to find friends instead of bones. But Marianne’s persistence pays off when bone by bone, she assembles a skeleton she dubs ‘Bony.’ As evening falls, Marianne leaves Bony on the beach, promising to return the next day. Before falling asleep, she wishes for the bones to come to life, and under the bright stars, her wish comes true. A longneck dinosaur flies through the sky, picks up Marianne, and she rides on its back as they begin an evening of adventures. From swimming in the ocean to visiting an enchanted forest filled with fairies, unicorns, and giants, it’s definitely a night to remember. Finally, the pair ascend a tall mountain and rise into the clouds, visiting an island populated by other children and their dinosaur friends. Readers will be enchanted by this world filled with gentle dinosaurs and other magical creatures. Watercolor, pencil, and collage illustrations in muted tones perfectly mirror the imagination and fantasy of the rhyming text.

THOUGHTS: This fanciful  story will be popular with dinosaur lovers, particularly girls. Marianne is a confident and imaginative protagonist who is up for any adventure the evening has in store.

Picture Book          Anne Bozievich, Southern York County SD

Tags: Picture book. Dinosaur fiction. Friendship. Stories in rhyme.