Sherlock Bones #1: Sherlock Bones and the Natural History Mystery – Renée Treml

When the royal blue diamond, the world’s largest gemstone, goes missing from the State Natural History Museum it’s up to Sherlock Bones and Watts to solve the mystery, even if the main suspect is a ghost. If they don’t, then the museum may close and Bones certainly doesn’t want to be put into storage.

Sherlock Bones is a tawny frogmouth and Watts is a blue Indian ringneck parrot. Both are exhibits in the state Natural History Museum. Bones is, well, bones and Watts is stuffed, so while Bones knows what she says, the reader doesn’t. They’re joined by Grace the raccoon, who is very much alive and in need of chocolate. You’ll also meet Mickey who, you guessed it, is a mouse.

This is a really fun read. I loved the humour, which was appropriate for both adults and children. There’s some enjoyable slapstick humour but there are also some more subtle smiles that adults will appreciate. I loved the jar containing a herring that’s beside one containing a red herring. You’ll also stumble upon some accidental learning, with interesting facts included that don’t detract from the story.

This is a highly illustrated chapter book. I would encourage you to look closely at all of the pictures because there are clues scattered throughout the illustrations that will help you solve the mystery. I also liked discovering other elements that, while not part of the mystery, were interesting, including a hermit crab checking out suitable replacements for its shell.

I particularly loved that this book was written and illustrated by a fellow Australian. Okay, so she was born in America but she moved to Australia in 2007 so I’m claiming her, especially since the focus in the book was on Australian animals. There’s also the requisite “Blimey!”

I can’t tell you how much I loved that the main character was a tawny frogmouth. We have a tawny frogmouth couple who either hang out on our clothes line or hunt in our front yard most nights and I adore them!

I really hope this book is the first in a series because I need to know what mystery Sherlock Bones and Watts will investigate next.

Thank you to Allen & Unwin for the wonderful surprise in the mail today. I love book competitions! I read an advanced proof copy and I hope nothing changes prior to publication.

Oh, and while I’m just a tad outside of the age range for this book’s target audience, that doesn’t stop me from feeling pretty darn proud of myself for finding the clues and solving the mystery before Sherlock Bones and Watts did. 😜

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

Hi there, I’m Sherlock Bones.

Who is Sherlock Bones, you ask? Well, I don’t like to brag, but my trusty side-kick Watts says I’m the greatest detective in our whole museum. 

Don’t you, Watts? 

Watts … ?

You might not be able to hear Watts, because he’s technically a stuffed parrot, but I always know what he’s thinking.

And right now he’s thinking: Can we solve the mystery of the missing Blue Diamond and save the Museum of Natural History, before it’s too late?

Dino Riders #5: How to Track a Pterodactyl – Will Dare

Illustrations – Mariano Epelbaum

It’s the wild west with dinosaurs! What’s not to love?!

I enjoyed reading this book so much that I’ve just finished it for the second time. With adventure, action, humour, potential danger, friends and foes, and a childhood hero in the mix, this was always going to be a fun read. Once you add the dinosaurs and cowboys you’ve got yourself a book that I imagine would pique the interest of even the most reluctant of readers.

Summer is almost over and Josh is meeting his friends Sam and Abi at the annual Trihorn County Funfair for some fun before they go camping. The trio are watching when a group of pterodactyls arrive and carry Josh’s hero and “the fastest, meanest, and bravest dino rider the Lost Plains had ever seen”, Terrordactyl Bill, away. It’s up to Josh, Sam and Abi to save T-Bill! They’re joined by Josh’s nemesis, Amos, and Amos’ sidekick, Arthur. I loved that everyone, even the kids, ride on the backs of dinosaurs and especially liked Josh’s triceratops, Charge.

The accompanying illustrations by Mariano Epelbaum are a mix of greyscale images in the same style as the front cover image, which are amazing, and diagrams on ruled paper that are intended to look as though a kid has drawn them, complete with short descriptions and arrows pointing out the important bits. I really enjoyed the main illustrations although found that the details didn’t always match the details of the story.

As soon as I discovered this book I knew I had to read it. Marketed as a new chapter book series I assumed it was the first in the series and didn’t bother to check prior to beginning to read. I’ve since learned it’s the fifth book in the series and the sixth is scheduled to be released before the end of the year. While I had no trouble following along without having already read the earlier books I loved this one so much that I now want to read the entire series.

New Favourite Phrase:

“Holy dino dung!”

Thank you so much to NetGalley and Sourcebooks Jabberwocky for the opportunity to read this book.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

Welcome to The Lost Plains!

A wild west frontier where dinosaurs never went extinct.

Josh Sanders wants to be the next great dinosaur cowboy! Ropin’ raptors and ridin’ bucking brontosauruses just like his hero Terrordactyl Bill.

Too bad he’s stuck working on his family’s Iguanodon ranch, riding his ancient dino, Plodder. The closest Josh has ever been to a T-Rex is reading about them in his Dino Cowboy Handbook.

To prove he has what it takes, Josh is determined to win the annual Settlement Race. But he’s gonna need one fast dino to stand a chance. With the help of his friends Sam and Abi, Josh will need to tame a wild Triceratops!

Did Dinosaurs Have Dentists? – Patrick O’Donnell

Illustrations – Erik Mehlen

Like many others I have a fairly significant case of dentophobia. My childhood dentist, in their infinite wisdom, told me that because I have deep crevasses in my teeth it was inevitable that I’d end up with a mouthful of fillings regardless of how well I brushed. This was after they’d already tortured treated me throughout my childhood, pulling all of my stubborn baby teeth that refused to leave me.

So, while this is a children’s book and I was reading it with that in mind, part of me was also keen to see if it had any wisdom to share with someone who hasn’t been to a dentist since their wisdom teeth were removed. I’m no closer to making a dental appointment now than I was before reading this book.

I liked the idea of applying dental fears to dinosaurs because dinosaurs make everything better, but overall the book just didn’t work for me. The rhyming worked sometimes and at other times it felt forced, for example, rhyming toothpick with picnic.

The pictures were cute and colourful. There’s a dinosaur with braces.

A family sit together munching on their lunch during a picnic with the sun smiling overhead. There’s even a dinosaur in need of dentures, wrinkly mouth and all.

There’s some facts about each dinosaur featured in the book at the end and also a glossary of toothy terms.

I thought it might be me being picky so I read it to my mother, who worked as a dental nurse before she retired. Naturally I pretended she was a child I was reading it to and showed her the illustrations as I read. It didn’t work for her either. Having said that, I haven’t read this book to a kid with dentophobia and a love of dinosaurs. If you want to check it out for yourself, here’s the link to the book on the publisher’s website.

Thank you very much to NetGalley and Schiffer Kids, an imprint of Schiffer Publishing Ltd. for the opportunity to read this book.

Rating: 2 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

What if a brachiosaurus needed braces? If a tyrannosaurus used toothpaste, would it squash the tube? A young child on the way to a dental checkup wonders if dinosaurs ever had cavities and if they had to brush their teeth, floss, get braces, and use fluoride or mouthwash. This whimsical picture book includes eleven common terms related to dental and oral health, along with a glossary of name pronunciations and fun, scientific facts about each of the eleven dinosaurs mentioned in the story. It takes an imaginative, humorous look at dinosaurs’ dental health and eases children’s fears about going to the dentist, while cleverly encouraging them to take care of their own teeth.

Inside Out T. Rex – Dennis Schatz

I’ve now read all four books in the Inside Out series and if I was a parent I’d be buying the whole set for my kidlets. Between the die-cut models, the photos and illustrations, and the interesting information that makes you feel like you aren’t even learning, I’d have them on hand to read for fun and for use in school projects. And between you and I, I can imagine some pretty mighty die-cut model battles being fought between T. rex, the shark, the skeleton and the mummy in between reads.

This book gives readers an introduction into what scientists know about T. rex based on the fossils that have been discovered so far and based on their knowledge of other animals’ systems, how they figure out what T. rex may have looked like and behaved.

With photos of fossils and plenty of illustrations, we learn about T. rex’s skeletal system and how scientist believe its other systems may have worked, including its cardiopulmonary system, digestive system, reproductive system, nervous system, muscular system and dermal system.

  • We may never know why T. rex had such short arms but we know they were too small for them to feed themselves with.
  • Scientists believe birds are the closest relatives of dinosaurs so look at how birds’ bodies work to make hypotheses about dinosaurs.
  • The T. rex may have had a digestive system similar to an alligator.

Assistance with pronouncing difficult words such as “serrations (ser-RAY-shuns)” are included. My favourite illustration is of a baby dinosaur curled up inside its egg. Aww!

Although we may never know the answers to some of our questions about T. rex this book gives its readers plenty of examples of how scientists work out what the most likely answer is based on current knowledge. Even if questions remain, T. rex will always be the coolest dinosaur!

Thank you so much to NetGalley and Quarto Publishing Group – becker&mayer! kids for the opportunity to read this book.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

The Tyrannosaurus rex has long been hailed as the king of the dinosaurs, but what do scientists really know about this prehistoric creature?

Inside Out: T. Rex offers clues to understanding the most compelling and mysterious dinosaur of them all. Loaded with awesome illustrations and captivating text, a die-cut model within the book’s pages will take you inside T. rex’s body to reveal, layer by layer, how these giant beasts lived more than 65 million years ago.

Each page will bring you deeper into the world of the Tyrannosaurus rex, and show how its specialised anatomy, from its razor-sharp teeth to its massive size, established it as the top of the prehistoric food chain.

Tyrannosaurus Ralph – Nate Evans

Illustrations – Vince Evans

Can an ordinary kid become a heroic dinosaur?

After being taunted by a bully and getting flattened by a dinosaur, Ralph wakes up in a secret lab under a garage … as a Tyrannosaurus Rex! Professor Overdrive tell Ralph that his brain was put into the body of the T-rex and shows Ralph a message from King Clobberus Crunch who is demanding earth send their designated champion to fight in his gladiator style arena or else the planet will be destroyed. Professor Overdrive then drops the bombshell that Ralph is going to be earth’s champion!

Fights to the death with champion fighters from rival planets remind Ralph of when he and his friend Dave play video games fighting fantasy monsters, only this time it’s real. Thud! Crunch! Smash! Kaboom!

With a cast including aliens, a T-rex, a hunchback, a Professor and heroic kids (male and female), delicacies like pizza and blood grub pies on the menu, atom smashing wedgies, flaming farts, time travel, the threat of barf, and intergalactic gladiator fights, kids are going to have heaps of fun reading this graphic novel.

Along for the ride with Ralph and Professor Overdrive, we meet Lugnut, the Professor’s hunchback assistant, Joona, a girl alien who may be friend material, along with a host of cute, gruesome, scared and mean aliens all battling it out to save their respective planets from annihilation at the hands of evil Clobberus Crunch and his ugly minions.

Seasoned and reluctant readers alike will be drawn in by the non-stop action, the humour and the interesting facts about gladiators at the end of the story. The illustrations are brilliant – bright, full of humour and action themselves, and with the best expressions you’ll probably ever see on a dinosaur.

Thank you so much to NetGalley and Andrews McMeel Publishing for the opportunity to read this graphic novel.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

Tyrannosaurus Ralph is the story of fourth-grader Ralph, whose brain is uploaded to a T-Rex body by mad scientist and then is expected to battle in an alien arena to save Earth.

A Stegosaurus Would Not Make a Good Pirate – Thomas Kingsley Troupe

Illustrations – Steph Calvert

Ahoy, me mateys! This book were bein’ a fun ride. Chock full of colourful pictures and plenty o’ pirate characters, I enjoyed readin’ this story. Gary the Stegosaurus does his best t’ please Cap’n One-Tooth. Avast! He gets fired!

Gary was not bein’ the right size for pirate clothes, he be too big, his tail be too spiky, he not be eatin’ pirate food, and he not be good at countin’. Maybe there be ‘nother job perfect for a Stegosaurus, eh?

Cap’n Thomas Kingsley Troupe, ye did a good job. Cap’n Steph Calvert, ye drawin’ ability be full o’ whimsy. Lads and lasses, they be enjoyin’ this here book.

Thanks to me mateys at NetGalley and Capstone for givin’ me the opportunity to be tellin’ ’em what I be thinkin’ of it. Arrr!

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

Gary the Stegosaurus wants to be a pirate. But then he gets the chance, things do NOT work out. Getting seasick is the least of Gary’s worries once he’s on that ship! This delightful picture book from the Dinosaur Dreams series includes discussion questions, an interactive look-and-find fact section, and dinosaur facts.