Today’s book review stems from another surprise discovery while browsing Instagram. I began seeing posts about an upcoming kids book titled Zoom: Dinosaur Adventure, and after seeing my comments on some of them, a representative from What on Earth Books offered to send me a review copy! Ever eager to examine as many books as I can, I of course accepted, and here we are today!
Written by Susan Hayes & illustrated by Sam Rennocks Zoom: Dinosaur Adventure is an early reader board book that takes readers on a tour of the time of the dinosaurs. A pair of young dinosaur enthusiasts, Jasmine & Jamie, lead the way as they travel back through time to search for their favorite prehistoric creatures. Jurassic Park fans (or at the very least, considering the age range, readers of the Jurassic Park Little Golden Book) may notice a clever easter egg in the form of Jasmine & Jamie’s outfits.
Readers don’t learn too much from the story, as it largely unfolds as a simple sight-seeing tour, but they do get introduced to a commendable variety of prehistoric creatures, especially considering the short length of the book.
The book’s main draw comes in the form of the see-through holes and cut-outs, similar to those in History Uncovered: Dinosaurs and Jason Chin’s Grand Canyon. Each of one of these cut-outs has its own hook that keeps each page engaging, and primes readers’ anticipation for the next scene. Some of them provide previews for the next page, which others cleverly reuse background details for new scenes, such as the hatchling Archelon which become distant adults on the next page, or the volcanic range that becomes a set of undersea hydrothermal vents. I particularly liked the ghostly ichthyosaur that appears only in the form of one of these cutouts.
The immanent arrival of the End-Cretaceous asteroid forces Jasmine & Jamie bring their journey to an end, which bursts from the page in a surprise pop-up scene on the penultimate page. My boys and I were genuinely surprised by this unexpected meteorite when we first read it, so I commend the book’s artist on adding this fun twist to the story!
I enjoy the cute, child friendly cartoons, which work very well for the book’s intended audience. If I had one real criticism, I think many of the theropods could use better feathering on their arms, a common mistake in many dinosaur illustrations, which I also noted in my previous review covering Dinosaurs Are Not Extinct. (I would refer readers to the Velociraptor image in Mammoth is Mopey, but I just realized I didn’t actually include that image in my review!)
If you’re looking for a fun, easy book for your kids to enjoy, whether as a bedtime story or as a read-aloud exercise for early readers, I highly recommend Zoom: Dinosaur Adventure! It’s been a constant companion in the car and at the bedside for the past few weeks, so I say it definitely earns my own children’s approval!