Dippy and the Dinosaurs
Angus & Robertson, 2020
32pp., hbk., RRP $A24.99
Dippy the Diprotodon has dug a new hole and the best thing about a hole is that if you have sharp claws you can make it bigger and bigger. In fact you can make it so big it can take you into another world! A swimming hole, to be precise, one filled with creatures that Dippy doesn’t recognise but who he is convinced will want to be friends. But will they?
Right alongside Mothball, Dippy is my favourite literary character because his innocence and expectation that he will be loved epitomises and reflects that of our youngest generation as they learn to navigate the world beyond home and family. It never occurs to Dippy that the creatures that he discovers (and who discover him) will do him harm or be unkind. Both French and Whatley capture this perfectly in text and words demonstrating that while new situations might be different, even strange, that doesn’t necessarily mean they are confrontational and antagonistic. As our littlest ones head off to preschool and big school, they can go with a positive attitude and confidence that yes, it’s a new world but it doesn’t have to be scary. To explore this in the context of a book about dinosaurs which resonated with that age group is just genius.
For those of you who want to explore the world of Dippy, diprotodons and other megafauna there are teachers’ notes (written by me) available.