Review by Booklist Review
Tyrannosauruses and triceratopses may be long gone, but a tiny hummingbird bursts into view with some news for a nearby turtle: "I'm a DINOSAUR!" The turtle is skeptical. Didn't dinosaurs have huge clomping feet? The hummingbird points out that its feet look remarkably similar to a T. rex's. But don't dinosaurs have giant bones, a frog wonders? The bird responds that the important thing is bone structure, not size. The remarkable comparisons continue, until a mole finally thinks that it has the last word: Aren't dinosaurs fierce? When the hummingbird declares with intensity that it is so, so, SO FIERCE, they can't help believing it. Things get more complicated when a crocodile wanders onto the scene ("I am not a dinosaur!"), but the hummingbird remains prepared to shed light on the situation. The spritely story is an appealing introduction to the concept of modern birds evolving from their dinosaur ancestors, quietly illustrating the core evidence in entertaining fashion. The watercolor artwork is soft in texture but bold in color and construction, cleverly inserting wispy scientific sketches behind the main action, making it easy to see comparisons and comprehend the basic concepts. The characters are also flat-out darling, and their adamant declarations beg to be read aloud. It's an absolute delight to learn and laugh with this curious animal crew.
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review
With the declaration "I'm a DINOSAUR!" a pink-breasted hummingbird attempts to persuade that dinosaurs still roam the earth. The argument that results provides a range of creatures (and readers) an education in dinosaur anatomy. A turtle is the first to challenge: "I thought/ dinosaurs stomped/ and clomped./ Your feet are/ too small." Hummingbird retorts "Look at my toes!/ They are just/ like T. rex!" and a pale diagram supports with explanatory text. Other questions provoke conversation about additional shared characteristics--pneumatic bones, scales and feathers, and claws. When a final challenge unearths an unexpected relative, it's a chance to discuss ancestry. Softly washed in color, Freedman's illustrations have the delicacy and fluidity of their winged protagonist. Balancing the informative and the wondrous, the book offers a tribute to the way the interconnections among species ensure that the past remains present. An author's note and resources conclude. Ages 4--8. (Apr.)
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Review by School Library Journal Review
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.--Yelena Voysey
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Review by Kirkus Book Review
Who's a tiny dinosaur? You'll be surprised. "I'm a DINOSAUR!" proclaims a hummingbird proudly. A turtle points out that dinosaurs had huge feet that "stomped and clomped." The hummingbird responds, "Look at my toes! They are just like T. rex! I'm a dinosaur!" The background illustration shows T. rex toes and a close-up of hummingbird toes with the caption "Four toes, three forward-facing." A frog notes that dinosaurs had huge bones, but the hummingbird replies that many dinosaur bones were hollow, just like hummingbird bones. A shrew joins the chorus of naysayers and argues that dinosaurs were fierce. "I am FIERCE!" says the hummingbird. And when a crocodile sticks its head in to ask if it heard correctly "that dinosaurs still roam the earth," the hummingbird proves its fierceness by standing firm. Then the little bird discusses the similarities between itself and the crocodile; they are cousins. It has finally convinced the other animals. Freedman's main text is entirely in speech bubbles, and as the animals converse, supporting facts and diagrams appear in the background. Her usual stunning watercolors are splats and spatters of bright color that follow the mood of the taxonomic debate. Though the exchanges are humorous, Freedman also folds in lessons on both science and the dangers of assumptions. (This book was reviewed digitally.) An innovative introduction to the relatedness of all animals that will delight budding biologists and dino mavens alike. (author's note, resources list, website) (Informational picture book. 4-8) Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.