It’s Show And Tell, Dexter! (Lindsay Ward)

Hello, friends! Our book today is It’s Show And Tell, Dexter! by Lindsay Ward, the adorable second installment of the Dexter T. Rexter series.

Dexter T. Rexter, a dinosaur toy, is back with a new challenge to face. His owner, Jack, is having show-and-tell at school, and he’s going to bring his very favorite toy: Dexter, of course! Dexter is so excited, and he’s been preparing for weeks. However, he’s also pretty nervous: will the kids like him? What outfit should he wear? Should he try to wow everyone? Will he make Jack proud? Dexter works himself into a frenzy over his worries, but the reader offers a suggestion: instead of trying to impress Jack’s classmates with costumes or flashy tricks, what if Dexter just went as… himself?

Wonderful! This was a story with a lot of comedy, yet had a very encouraging message for little ones who also may be feeling nervous about their first day of school. Dexter’s histrionics are presented in laughably dramatic text that is a blast to read aloud and act out – JJ was screeching with laughter by the time we got to “TOTAL FREAKOUT!”. But the message that being yourself is always the best way to face new experiences is the best part, and brought the plot full-circle beautifully. The art is bright, colorful, and full of energy, and JJ loved seeing Dexter’s antics. The length is great, and we both enjoyed this one a lot. A fantastic follow-up, yet stands on its own as a wonderful lesson in being oneself. Baby Bookworm approved!

(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by a representative of the author in exchange for an honest review.)

Dino Duckling (Alison Murray)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Dino Duckling by Alison Murray, an adorable and touching tale about being different.

Even before his egg has hatched, Dino’s mama duck knew he was going to be different. After all, her other children are all small, fluffy yellow ducklings and Dino is… not. But from the very start, Mama Duck was sure to tell all her children that even if they didn’t look the same, they were a family and they should always look out for each other. As Dino and his siblings grew, Mama Duck taught them all the things to know about being a duck. And even though he was happy with his family, Dino sometimes felt how very different he was from them – in size and shape and, climactically, his inability to fly south with them for the winter. As his mother and siblings lift off, Dino sinks down and cries, imagining they have finally left him. But family is family, no matter what – and family never leaves one of their own behind.

Lovely. When it comes to complicated issues in children’s books, sometimes the simplest version of the story is best, especially when it has the degree of honesty that this one has. I especially liked that it noted how, even with love and support from family, being different can still be hard on the unique; it shows kids that sometimes being frustrated or sad with what sets them apart is natural and fair. The illustrations are absolutely darling, and JJ went wild for them, ESPECIALLY Dino (you can see her showing them to her own Mr. Dinosaur in the picture). The length is great, and we enjoyed it. A classic tale of family love, and it’s Baby Bookworm approved!

Sea Rex (Molly Idle)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Sea Rex by Molly Idle, the third in her positively charming Rex series.

Rex and his two young friends – Cordelia and her younger brother – head down to the beach for a day of fun and sun. But just like their previous outings, there are certain rules of etiquette and safety to be followed, which the text enlightens the reader to: staying in sight of a lifeguard, using plenty of sunscreen, and being sure to hunt for seaside treasures. During their day, the trio meet new dinosaurs during their adventures, which leads one more rule of beachgoing – the best day at the beach is one spent with friends.

So adorable. Idle’s delightfully cheeky style of combining instructional text with the tongue-in-cheek, beautifully laid-out, and incredibly endearing illustrations makes for a fun read no matter the age. Dino-lovers like JJ will be particularly pleased with the friendly-looking dinosaurs and the children’s interactions with them. The length is perfect, and JJ was grinning for every page. A fantastic summertime read, and it’s Baby Bookworm approved!

If I Had A Dinosaur (Alex Barrow & Gabby Dawnay)

Hello, friends! Our book today is If I Had A Dinosaur by Alex Barrow & Gabby Dawnay, an absolutely adorable tale of a little girl’s dream pet.

Dogs are nice, she already has a cat, but the girl who narrates the story is looking for a different kind of pet. Not a hamster or a mouse… no… something BIGGER. A dinosaur would do (a Titanosaurus perhaps, based on the nonfiction prologue). She could teach it tricks and take it to the park, even ride it to school. The dinosaur would be clever, learning to count and recite the alphabet. And she’s totally up to caring for it: she would feed it lots of leafy greens and dig it a nice pond to swim in, even brush its teeth. And in return, she would have the most loyal, lovely, and long-necked friend to share her days with.

So. Darn. Cute. As regular readers know, JJ is a fan of dinosaurs – you may have even noticed her loyal reading buddy, Mr. Dinosaur. And from the first appearance of the sweet-faced, bright-green dino of the books, she was delighted. It’s a fun twist on the familiar “unusual pet” theme, with a few details that make it stand out. The bouncy rhyming text is jaunty and fun to read aloud; the simple, cheerful illustrations are cute and colorful, and filled with clever little details for sharper-eyed readers (see if you can find the fun nod to the Harry Potter universe); and it features a multi-racial cast, including a protagonist of color and her family. One content warning: there is an entire spread devoted to the question of how to clean dino-sized droppings with an unsubtle depiction of such (think the poop emoji with no face). But if that doesn’t bother you, you’re in store for a cheery read. The length was fine, JJ AND Mr. Dinosaur loved it, and it’s definitely Baby Bookworm approved!

(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by the author in exchange for an honest review.)

When I Was A Dinosaur (Tatsuhide Matsuoka)

Hello, friends! Our book today is When I Was A Dinosaur by Tatsuhide Matsuoka, a charming little tale of a dinosaur-obsessed boy unexpectedly swept into the adventure of a lifetime.

As a birthday gift, the young boy’s grandpa gives him his very own dinosaur suit! He rushes to the park to show the other kids, but his growling and roaring scare them off. Saddened, he sits alone until another offer to play comes by… from a pack of real live dinosaurs! They play with the boy, then bring him back to their home in Dinosaur Land, showing him the special islands that the herbivores and carnivores live on and all the fun things that dinosaurs do. That is, until a pack of hungry Tyrannosauruses begin making their way toward Herbivore Island! What can the boy and his new friends do to defend themselves?

A fun flight of imagination, especially for those who love dinosaurs (and, as you can see from her own dinosaur suit, JJ fits the bill!). There are definitely some notes of The Nutcracker or Where The Wild Things Are – where an imaginative child is swept into a fantasy world, becomes a hero, then is returned home – though I wish we had spent more time in Dinosaur Land so the reader could have been immersed in its magic a bit more. Still, there’s a fun story and some lively detailed art that brings a heap of species and their environments to life, and the ending is adorable. The pace seemed a bit quick, but the length was fine and JJ enjoyed it. This one would be best for dinosaur fans, but most children will likely enjoy their journey into the land of dinosaurs. Overall, Baby Bookworm approved!

(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)