A Dinosaur A Day

A Dinosaur A Day

A Dinosaur A Day











A Dinosaur A Day

Miranda Smith

Jenny Wren et al

Farshore, 2022

234pp., hbk., RRP $A29.99


Triceratops, brontosaurus, stegosaurus and of course, tyrannosaurus rex – all names that the youngest child will tell you if you ask them to name some dinosaurs.  But what if they could explore a new dinosaur for every day of the year, and still just be touching on the diversity of these fascinating creatures that roamed the planet for more than 160 million years?

This new collection about these creatures that continue to build wonder and wonderment, is more than your usual anthology because it offers the young reader an introduction to a new dinosaur every day of the year, including important information about the time period it existed, where it lived, who its relatives were, what it ate and the usual weight and length.  With each month organised by categories such as size, diet, speed, weaponry and so on, it offers many new names to spruik and readers will have fun discovering which one is featured on their own birthday – I share mine with Qantassaurus (named after the airline) a speedy, two metre biped of the early Cretaceous period that dined on the plants of the Flat Rocks fossil site near Inverloch (Strzelecki Ranges) on the southern Victorian coast about 150 km south-east of Melbourne (co-incidentally one of my favourite spots in Australia!). And just like the readers of this book will be, I was inspired to find out more , increasing both my knowledge and my reading skills.  My husband, on the other hand, is associated with the masiakasaurus of Africa… 

So as well as expanding the child’s knowledge of these creatures which includes explanations of how they came to be and why they disappeared, it is easy to see how this is one of those books that will lead to further and deeper reading making it a most valuable addition to the section of the collection that never loses its appeal.  

I’m a Dirty Dinosaur Hide and Seek

I’m a Dirty Dinosaur Hide and Seek

I’m a Dirty Dinosaur Hide and Seek











I’m a Dirty Dinosaur Hide and Seek

Janeen Brian

Ann James

Puffin, 2022 

10pp., board book, RRP $A16.99


The dirty dinosaur is back and this time he’s looking for his friends – Bird, feathery and flittery, tweety and twittery; Bee, busy and buzzy, stripy and fuzzy – and all the others.  But it seems like they’re hiding from him and the young reader is going to have to think about where they might be in the landscape and lift the flaps to discover them!

Rhyme, rhythm, repetition, dinosaurs and interactivity – the perfect combination to engage young readers in endless hours of fun as they tell themselves the story over and over again, and delight in their success as they uncover the hiding places!!!  Who can be hoppy, water ploppy like Frog? Or slippery, silver tail flippery like Fish?

Once again, links to research and memes about the importance of reading with the very young are doing the social media rounds, and it’s books like this one that are going to be the hook,  And, to me, even more powerful than reading a story (1825 if one a day in the first five years; 5475 if you share a familiar, a first-read and a favourite) is offering one that they can then read themselves! 

This one is a winner!!!

Leilong’s Too Long!

Leilong's Too Long!

Leilong’s Too Long!











Leilong’s Too Long!

Julia Liu

Bel Lynn

Gecko Press, 2022

28pp., hbk., RRP $A27.99


Leilong the brontosaurus is a very good school bus, and the children are all ready and waiting as he goes from building to building to collect them.  But being a brontosaurus in a modern city of cars and buses and trucks and people can have its drawbacks and Leilong finds himself banned and confined to the school gymnasium.  He is so upset that he cries and cries… and finds himself a new career!!

Young readers first met Leilong when he took them to  library storytime and they will be happy that he returns in another adventure. What if Leilong arrived at their school?  What uses could he have?  Have them write letters to the principal to persuade them that Leilong should stay… 


News Hounds: The Dinosaur Discovery

News Hounds: The Dinosaur Discovery

News Hounds: The Dinosaur Discovery











News Hounds: The Dinosaur Discovery

Laura James

Charlie Alder

Bloomsbury, 2022

128pp., pbk., RRP $A14.99


Gizmo is a city dog, so when he moves to the village of Puddle with his journalist human he doesn’t know what to expect but, luckily he had Jilly, the wolfhound next door, to show him around. Even though Gizmo might not know the difference between a cow and a tractor he’s got a nose for a story, and so he starts The Daily Bark, a newspaper for the dogs of Puddle. Gizmo is the editor, Jilly (who knows everyone) is the lead reporter, and Bunty is the weather reporter.  Lola is the sports reporter, Bruno is the fashion and beauty expert while Bob, who is the station master’s dog, writes the travel news.

In this, the second in this series for young, newly independent readers transitioning to novels, Bob helps Diamond, a seemingly aristocratic Afghan hound jump off the train as she arrives with her new master, Mr Marcus, owner of the Curiosity Shop, and reputedly a cat person.  But in his efforts to outdo the other dogs in trying to impress Diamond, he unwittingly digs up a dinosaur bone… So he not only has the scoop of the century for The Daily Bark but also having to keep it same from others who want it so much more!

An engaging read for all those young readers who love dogs, who know they do more than snooze in the sun when their owners are absent and who are looking for a fast-paced story that is just right for them. 


Dinosaurs and other Prehistoric Life

Dinosaurs and other Prehistoric Life

Dinosaurs and other Prehistoric Life














Dinosaurs and other Prehistoric Life

Prof. Anusuya Chinsamy-Turan

Angela Rizza & Daniel Long

DK, 2021

224pp., hbk., RRP $A39.99


Usually, when you flick through a book about dinosaurs you see familiar names like triceratops, stegosaurus, diplodocus and of course, tyrannosaurus rex.  So imagine how excited your dinosaur fans will be when they see names like araucarioxylon, plioplatecarpus and pachycephalosaurus and the fun they will have not only getting their tongues around the names and showing them off to friends, but finding out what these creatures were!

Starting at the beginning of life on earth, the reader is taken on a journey through the development of life starting with the forms that developed in water and then moving on to the plants and animals that moved onto land. Whether they’re scary fish, gigantic insects or the largest dinosaur or their descendants, this is a fascinating expedition that culminates in the emergence of the earliest humans.

For decades DK have had the best reputation for delivering quality non fiction for young readers and this is no exception.  As well as building on the interest that might have been sparked through studies of how the Earth began, it also moves the reader on to a bit more detail than your usual texts for this age group with each topic having a double-paged spread with lifelike illustrations with photos and then a thorough set of support pages including a diagram of the Tree of Life so it’s easy to see where everything fits in, a pronunciation guide, a glossary, and a visual index.

A peek inside...

A peek inside…

This is one that will be treasured by those with an interest in life on this planet, particularly if they also have access to the new children’s version of  On The Origin of Species so they can see how it all fits together. (It will also be loved by those who want to borrow the heaviest book in the library…) 


Some Dinosaurs Are Small

Some Dinosaurs Are Small

Some Dinosaurs Are Small










Some Dinosaurs Are Small

Charlotte Voake

Walker, 2022

32pp., pbk., RRP $A16.99


Some dinosaurs are small with tiny teeth for munching leaves, and some dinosaurs are BIG with  pointy teeth for munching  OTHER dinosaurs!  Some dinosaurs need to RUN! But some dinosaurs have a secret weapon…

In pure pantomime spirit, children will want to cry out, “He’s behind you!” and they will hold their breath until the outcome is revealed – and then they will LOL!  This is a joyous story for little ones who like dinosaurs and who can no doubt, tell you the names of those featured in it.  But as well as being entertaining with its delightful twist, it also explores opposites like  big and small, fast and slow, carnivore and herbivore that will add to the child’s knowledge. There is also the need to look closely at the pictures to understand its ending, reinforcing the integration between text and picture in a subtle way.

Sheer delight that reinforces the value of a simple story told well, and, being in print, one that can be revisited time and again, even reading it for yourself.  


Ten Minutes to Bed: Little Dinosaur

Little Dinosaur

Little Dinosaur











Ten Minutes to Bed: Little Dinosaur

Rhiannon Fielding

Chris Chatterton

Ladybird, 2022

28pp/. board book., RRP $A14.99


Magical creatures live in the Land of Nod, but each of them is not keen on going to bed because they are having too much fun.  But sleep they must if they are to be ready for more fun tomorrow and so using rhyme and enchanting illustrations, author and artist take both the characters and the young reader on a calming countdown to bedtime leading them gently to the land of sleep.

This time, it is Little Dinosaur who wants last adventure but as the minutes tick by, he finds himself going deeper and deeper into the jungle until he is lost. Even the appearance of a mob of much larger, older dinosaurs doesn’t deter him until the shadow of one in particular looms ominously close…

 With its rhyme which flows naturally, stunning illustrations and the countdown, it is perfect to share to settle even the most un-sleep-ready child as they learn that even the creatures they love to dream about have to sleep sometime.  It contains all the elements that little ones associate with the dinosaur world, including an erupting volcano, and they will love to identify the various dinosaurs that come out of the valley en masse.  Who belongs to those large grey legs? 

And this new board book format means that little hands and heads will be able to read it again and again and it will stand up to the wear and tear. Definitely a series for the youngest readers to collect. 

BANG! The Story of How Life on Earth Began

BANG! The Story of How Life on Earth Began

BANG! The Story of How Life on Earth Began











BANG! The Story of How Life on Earth Began

Katherine Halligan

Amy Grimes

Walker Studio, 2021

40pp., hbk., RRP $A27.99


Today’s book is the perfect accompaniment to Our Country: Ancient Wonders  as it takes the reader back beyond the formation on those ancient rocks at Kakadu 2.5 billion years ago to the very beginning of the universe answering those questions that some will inevitably ask about what came before even those ancient Australian formations.

In the beginning there was Nothing

No dark. no light, no day no night.

No sun, no moon, no stars.

No land , no sea, no air.

No plants, no animals

No me,

no you.





With a clever design technique of increasing the font with each statement, there is a sense of anticipation building until the reader in catapulted into the incredible story of billions of years of life on Earth, from the first tiny cells, through the age of dinosaurs and prehistoric beasts, all the way to the first humans. Using language that appeals as it describes the growth (“green things, buggy things, swimmy things, wriggly things, scaly things (big ones)”  it tracks the development of life in a way that offers enough information to satisfy curiosity without being overwhelming, while opening the door to further investigation for those who are intrigued.  And, as with Our Country: Ancient Wonders the historians, the scientists, the mathematicians, the artists and the storytellers can explore and explain the theory according to their interest and some can even consider the implication of a radical new theory,  perhaps even setting up a debate about that, the Big Bang and the various religious viewpoints.  

However, to pinpoint a focus, what really appealed was that after the meteor disaster that wiped out the dinosaur era, the planet recovered and this should give some comfort to those who are anxious about the current focus on the environment and climate change.  Both the land and those who inhabit it are very resilient. So with all the dystopian, post-apocalypse literature (both print and screen) dominating their leisure time,  there is scope for hope and belief in a future.

Books like this that can open up the potential for a series of rich, meaningful experiences that allow the development of essential investigative skills without appearing to be formal isolated, check-the-box lessons provide authentic learning experiences for students that last well beyond the classroom walls, particularly if there is a co-operative task that allows participants to use and build on their existing interests and talents.

 These days, after 51 years in teaching, it is a rare book that makes me wish I was back in the face-to-face situation but both this and yesterday’s have.  

And to help you here are some worthwhile links… Geoscience Australia is a rich trove. 

Table of Geological Periods

Geoscience Australia – Education resources

Geoscience Australia classroom resources 

Australia through Time  (map)

Australia Through Time (poster)

Shaping a Nation: A Geology of Australia    this is a book with each chapter available separately

Australia: an ancient land (teacher notes)

You might also like to check out We Go Way Back by Idan Ben-Barak which has a similar theme.



Nelson:: Eggplants and Dinosaurs

Nelson:: Eggplants and Dinosaurs

Nelson: Eggplants and Dinosaurs











Nelson: Eggplants and Dinosaurs

Andrew Levins

Katie Kear

Puffin, 2021

176pp., pbk., RRP $A12.99


Tucked into a bumbag around his waist was a variety of stuff that Nelson hated most, but which he needed often.  Because although he hated the taste and smell of vegetables (tricky when you are in a vege-loving and growing family) they gave him superpowers. So in that bumbag were broccoli  (for invisibility), pumpkin for a super strong voice and strength, a radish for teleportation (and a feather to make himself sick if he ever had to eat them.)

In this, the third adventure in this series for young independent readers, Nelson discovers the benefits of eggplants as he is called on to track down some of the worst thieves in town, thieves who have been stealing every book about dinosaurs from the local libraries. The only one left is his favourite from Kindergarten in the school library. But trialling the effects of eating an eggplant has disastrous consequences… Will Nelson be able to control his inner beast and use it to get out of danger?

This is the third in this fast-paced series that will appeal to those who are ready for novels but still needing the short chapters and liberal illustrations for a little extra support  With its premise that will resonate with many, characters that are easily recognisable and the type of exaggerated humour that appeals to its target audience,  Levins has created a series that children will engage with and parents will love, simply because it may encourage a lot more vegetable eating and the battles about eating the daily requirement may be over. Who knows what superpowers might be hidden in the rainbow on the plate?  At the very least the kids will be healthier! 

Rumble, Rumble, Dinosaur

Rumble, Rumble, Dinosaur

Rumble, Rumble, Dinosaur











Rumble, Rumble, Dinosaur

Katrina Sharman

Nick Sharratt

Bloomsbury, 2021 

32pp., pbk., RRP $A12.99


Rumble, rumble, dinosaur!
Wake up dinos near and far

Using the familiar tune of Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star, our youngest readers will delight in this book about dinosaurs created just for them. They can share the adventures of  a whole host of different dinosaurs throughout the course of one exciting day in the jungle … from the friendly brontosaurus to swooping pterodactyls, the gigantic stegosaurus, and of course the FEARSOME T. Rex – all heading for the dino feast.  But then, at the end of the day, just like little children, they must all rest.

The rhyme and rhythm are the perfect complement to the bright bold illustrations which offer an introduction to these creatures that endlessly fascinates children of all generations, enticing them to join in with noise and movement and get the most out of it.