If there is one section of the library that can never have too many items, it is 567.9 – the home of the dinosaurs. There seems to be an eternal fascination with these long-ago creatures that has been the door into reading for so many children, particularly young boys who like to get the biggest and thickest books and pore over them with their mates.
So this new addition by Matt Sewell that introduces favourites and familiars and also some first-read-abouts will be welcome as it is targeted at those who want to know something but not so much that it is overwhelming. Who knew there were so many – but then they were on the planet for 170 million years! Each creature has a one or two page spread dominated by the illustration, an illustration that is somewhat different from the norm as they have been inspired by new ideas from palaeontologists that the creatures were not only colourful but some may have had feathers rather than the traditional scales and hide.
A peek inside…
Each entry includes the length and weight which can always lead to some interesting maths activities and well as the time period (delve into history and create a chart) and their diet with ‘proper’ descriptors like ‘carnivorous’ to extend the vocabulary. There are other basic facts written in a conversational tone that makes the language accessible to those early readers. Given that not every dinosaur is included, perhaps they could produce an extra page exploring and explaining their favourite dinosaur as an initial information literacy exercise.
Produced in conjunction with the Natural History Museum in the UK. this is a worthwhile addition to that critical section of the collection.
Nellie is all dressed up in her dinosaur costume because today is a Dinosaur Day. But it is also her Aunt Daisy’s wedding and she is supposed to be the flower girl and wearing her special purple dress. While some parents might exert their parental power, Nellie’s try a more negotiated approach, as stubborn as any preschooler, Nellie refuses to change and despite her parents’ pleading she stands her ground. Can a compromise be reached with Aunt Daisy having the pretty flower girl at the wedding of her dreams?
This is a funny yet familiar story that will resonate with both parent and child – parents because we can all remember some of the monumental battles we have had with stubborn, determined little people, the child because the adult world does seem to have some weird rules and expectations and having to wear a purple dress to a wedding is just one of them.
It’s refreshing to see a girl in the lead role in a book about dinosaurs and Tom Jellett has captured Nellie’s obsession with them and her feelings at being told no perfectly. You can feel the tension in the air as powerful wills meet even though voices are not raised (except as a dinosaur roar) and the parents remain calm. Lots of discussion points about feelings, doing what others expect, negotiating and compromising and whether clothes really do “maketh the man”.
Tyrone T. rex and his Dino Diggers are building a new car factory for Mr Ali O’Saurus. But Ali O’Saurus is impatient and wants things finished immediately. Because the Dino Diggers’ motto is “We never let you down”. everyone starts working at a furious pace but disaster strikes when Tyrone ignores the plans and hits a water main flooding the worksite. Will the Diggers be able to live up to their motto?
This is a book for those who love big machines and dinosaurs as both are combined in a story that moves along at a fast pace with lots of action on each page. Clever use of dinosaur names that little ones always have their tongue around add a dimension to the characters and the bright detailed illustrations will appeal as young readers pore over them. To top it off there is a digger to build from a cardboard cutout, complete with instructions to be followed, offering an opportunity to understand their purpose and the need for correct sequencing, as well as teaching about care and patience -something Tyrone T. Rex seems to lack!.
Great for early childhood with others in the series to help carry what is known about characters from one story to another.
Jim is learning how to swim but when it is time to move up from the baby pool to the middle-sized pool, he is not so sure that he is ready. he’s concerned about its depth so his mother tells him that it would not even reach the knees of a stegosaurus. This sparks a chain reaction of how deep would a … be and each time mum is able to explain it in terms of how many dinosaurs it would take to reach the surface. And when she explains the Mariana Trench in the Pacific Ocean would need 587 brachiosauruses standing on each other’s head, Jim finally feels he is ready to cope.
This is a unique story that combines the love of dinosaurs that so many little ones have with their natural apprehension of venturing into something they are unsure of. Clearly Ben Kitchen has done his homework on dinosaur dimensions and there are two pages explaining the key features of those that are mentioned, including some that young readers may not be familiar with. While more or less anatomically correct, the illustrations are still whimsical and fun and readers will gain courage from them rather than fear.
Something completely different for the younger reader. Perhaps even an opportunity to go outside and measure things to compare them with the dinosaurs to bring the imagination to reality.
Animasaurus Incredible Animals that Roamed the Earth
96pp. hbk., RRP $A26.99
While we are all familiar with the incredible dinosaurs, icthyosaurs and pterosaurs that inhabited our planet long before we did, this book focuses on the other megafauna that was here before humans evolved, tracing their evolution from the ancient to its modern counterpart.
From the gigantopithecus to the orangutan, the dunkleosteus to the bull shark, the quetzalcaotlus to the wandering albatross, the reader can see the transition from the unknown to the more familiar. Uncluttered interpretations of the ancient creatures based on what has been learned from fossils are compared to photos of the modern relatives making the transition even clearer. Each double spread has a habitat map and some basic facts as well as tidbits of interesting information to encourage the reader to learn more, perhaps even trace the lineage of their own favourite creature. There is a timeline, a glossary and an index at the back which not only help with navigating the book but also serve as an introduction to the features of a non fiction book for younger readers.
We know books about dinosaurs only linger on the shelf for a short time before being borrowed by an enthusiastic reader – this book will lead them into a whole new world of exploration.
Dennis introduces to his dinosaur friends and the places they live, what they like to eat and other simple facts while Angel and her fairy friends show what goes on in the fairy garden through bright pictures and intriguing lift-the-flaps which will appeal to the very young and help them understand that books, stories and reading contain lots of fun and interest.
Two new publications perfect for the toddler’s Christmas stocking.
Can we ever have too many books about dinosaurs to entice our young people, particularly boys, to pick up a book and read?
Certainly in my school library I put all those with the 567.9 classification on a special shelf so they were easily gettable (and put awayable) because they were in constant demand and it was hard to keep up with the requests.
But this new title by explorer Simon Chapman is not just another book of facts and figures and pictures. Told in a semi-narrative style, Chapman tells the stories of various paleontologists who made the various discoveries across the world and fills the pages with incredible illustrations, pop-outs, pull-downs, lift-the flaps and other devices that make this one of the richest, most intriguing books on this subject I’ve seen. Every page is crammed with new discoveries to be made so the reader feels the anticipation of those early scientists as they pursued their quests.
From the 3D-like cover through to its glossary on the endpapers it is the most sumptuous, luxurious publication you just want to keep running your hands over it and investigating each page thoroughly to what makes a dinosaur, when and where they lived, what they ate, why they fought and why they became extinct.
Not only would this be a very welcome addition to a library’s collection, if I had a student who was passionate about this subject I’d be giving parents a heads-up that this might be an ideal item for this year’s Santa sack!
It’s Saturday night and there is a great sense of anticipation in the line-up at the door of the disco. The doors, open, the crown surges, music starts to pump… and the dinosaurs surge into the hall! Each has their own unique style – styracosaurus salsa, corythosuarus crumps and maisaura moonwalks across the shiny floor – but it doesn’t matter because each is having fun and loving what they are doing. With the disco ball and lights flashing, the conga line snakes across the floor until the music stops, the ground begins to shake, there’s an eerie silence and some of the little dinosaurs dive for cover. What could have cast such a pall of gloom over the fun and frivolity?
If you looking for a raucous, rollicking book that young dinosaur lovers can really get into, then this is perfect. In their amazing way, they will get their tongues around the difficult and unfamiliar names and will move and groove with the dancers. They will hold their breath when the intruder arrives but delight in the ending, joining in with great gusto.
A peek inside…
Dinosaurs are perennial favourites with young readers – and they can never get enough of them. Whether it’s fiction or nonfiction, old and new titles are eagerly sought and this one combines the best of both worlds as there is a pronunciation guide as well as some fast facts about the champions in the book. Bright illustrations add to the appeal and while somewhat stylised they are close enough to the child’s perception of each species, they will delight in being able to identify them. Definitely one for the collection but it needs to have some loud music going to get the atmosphere happening for a memorable storytime.
If you’re looking for a rollicking good read that is lots of fun and has wonderful illustrations, then Dino-Daddy should be high on the list. The third in a series which includes Dino-Mummy and Dino-Baby, Dino-Daddy is the perfect daddy making mischief and making fun. As well as the energetic pictures, the rhyming structure of the texts moves this along at a fast clip that will make everyone wish for a dino-daddy. Perfect for very young readers and those with a fascination for dinosaurs it should be a surefire hit and a great read as part of Father’s Day celebrations.
There is such excitement on the station platform as all the little dinosaurs await the arrival of the Dinosaur Express. At last, it comes into view –
The engine’s like a T-Rex head, the carriages have scales
It’s faster than a pterosaur – it flies along the rails!
Eagerly each little dinosaur climbs aboard, the stationmaster waves a flag and there’s a mighty Hiss! Chug-Chug! and then the engine roars.
Told in rhyming couplets that emphasise the rhythm of a train on the tracks and illustrated with the brightest colours, this is a wonderful, rollicking story about a train journey that would be the envy of any little person who harbours a desire to be a train driver, especially when the narrator has the golden ticket that means he gets to drive the train himself! A wonderful combination of the dreams of many – trains and dinosaurs.
Apart from just being a great story that will entertain young readers, there’s scope to talk about how the rhythm of the words add to the atmosphere and even how the author shapes the imagination with phrases like “the engine’s like a T-Rex head”. “doors like pterodactyl wings” and “seats like allosaurus paws” beginning them on their journey of becoming critical readers. The illustrations are rich in detail encouraging a closer look and something new to discover each time this story is read. This is likely to be a favourite.