Tiny Dino

Viking. Apr. 2022. 40p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780593352649.
PreS-Gr 1–While countless picture books feature dinosaurs in all kinds of stories, fewer focus on the connection to their descendants. This story previews with a triceratops, a T. rex, and a burning meteor in the background but really gets started when teeny but enthusiastic hummingbird bursts onto the title page proclaiming “I’m a dinosaur! I’m a dinosaur!” in response to “Did you know that dinosaurs STILL roam the earth?” A turtle questions this claim as the wee bird’s feet are “too small to stomp and clomp” but the hummingbird remains undaunted, demonstrating how similar its feet are to the T. rex’s. A frog and a mole further contest the bird’s assertions but it proves that what it lacks in size it makes up for in fierceness. The appearance of a crocodile (who denies being a dinosaur) briefly startles the “tiny dino” but soon more parallels are drawn (“Look, I have scales on my toes. And you have scales on your feet!”) to establish a family tree connection and declare their cousin status. Freedman uses occasional bursts of orange and pink, textural watercolor splashes, and changes in speech balloon/font size to convey emotions and emphasize statements on spreads that are otherwise awash in cheerful greens and blues. Fainter line-drawn diagrams of dinosaur anatomy and other pertinent information appear in the backgrounds, illustrating the comparison concepts without overwhelming the action. An author’s note provides a few more characteristics that dinosaurs and birds share, mentions their common ancestors as well as the extinction event, and supplies a short list of resources about dinosaurs.
VERDICT This is another charmer from Freedman, seamlessly mixing nonfiction, humor, a meditation on interconnections, and a lot of heart.

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