Review by Booklist Review
This charming picture book presents shyness as a special part of one's identity--and one that can confer benefits. Norman, a dino so tiny he can hide in a cup of pencils, which he does soon after entering the cozy cave of Dino Day Care, is terrified of his classmates, as well as his bespectacled pterodactyl teacher. The illustrations' warm pastels, childlike dinosaurs, and clever blending of Mesozoic features with a contemporary day care make the point that this world is both familiar and strange, as it might feel to any child starting school. Norman is good at hiding, which he does constantly and comically throughout the day. Finally, he's paired in a talent show performance with a T. rex classmate who admits to being nervous about his magic act, but Norman wows the group by hiding in the T. rex's top hat and being "magically" pulled out. The story concludes with a nice takeaway, with the teacher telling Norman that shyness is part of him--and so is courage.
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review
Readers can enjoy a game of seek-and-find while following the experiences of shy dinosaur Norman as he joins a preschool group for the first time in this winning picture book. Though purple pterodactyl Miss Beak and the earnest class of dinos are warmly welcoming, diminutive Norman has little interest in being the center of attention, leading him to jump into the pencil bucket, dive under a pillow, and scamper up a tree when he feels nervous. When Miss Beak pairs Norman with another anxious dino for an activity, the duo hatches a plan that helps them find a bit of courage and pull off a performance that surprises and delights their friends. Miss Beak, sporting a jaunty kerchief in Julian's sweet art, is a calm and patient presence for the cast of genuinely gentle young dinosaurs--a vibe likely to build confidence in young humans. Ages 4--8. (July)
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Review by Kirkus Book Review
A small dinosaur discovers that day care isn't scary at all. Plainly written to purpose, this first-day episode features a dino so tiny that viewers will have as much trouble as his puzzled classmates do spotting him in the first picture, peering out from behind the teacher's leg. Norman initially disappears into a bucket of pencils or beneath a cushion whenever addressed. "I really want to join in, Miss Beak," says little Norman, "but I feel shy." "It's okay to be shy," she replies. "It's a special part of who you are." But Norman is so surprised to learn that even the comparatively humongous Jake has stage fright ("But you're so big!" "It doesn't mean my fears are small") that his reserve is broken at last--and, after the two team up for a magic show, Norman understands that he has courage inside as well as shyness. The narrative's precocious language may leave similarly timorous young listeners unmoved, but Julian's small, diverse groups of fetchingly drawn dino-tots happily stacking rocks outdoors or engaged in other social activities inside beneath the pterodactyl teacher's calm but watchful eyes (and also a wall poster wordlessly promoting the notion of evolution) promise a reassuringly positive experience. Openly agenda driven, but easy on the eyes and low key in tone. (Picture book. 3-5) Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.