Perfect Picture Book Friday: Dinothesaurus

Author/Illustrator: Douglas Florian
Publication Info: Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2009
Intended audience: Ages 6+
Genre: nonfiction picture book
Themes/topics: dinosaurs, poetry, natural history
Opening and synopsis:
“The dinosaurs
First lived outdoors
During the time Triassic.
While most died out,
Some came about
Later in the Jurassic.”
In a twist on traditional dinosaur books, Florian gives us poems about Stegosaurus, Triceratops, T. Rex and other childhood favorites. And he couples his poems with fanciful illustrations that show the dinosaurs’ personalities and unique traits. Troodon, the smarty pants of the bunch, is pictured with a graduation cap, for example. He also includes a comprehensive glossary, selected bibliography and list of dinosaur museums and fossil sites.
Why I like this book: Douglas Florian is a new favorite. I’m always fascinated by authors who produce creative nonfiction, or in layman’s terms, nonfiction that’s not boring. And he’s really funny. He guest posted on Katie Davis’s blog, where he encouraged poets to employ bad spelling and grammar if it’s funny and to make up words, hence “dinothesaurus.” His poems are catchy. You might just find yourself chanting, “Triceratops./Try-scare-a-tops./Try-wouldn’t-want-to-dare-a-tops.”
Resources: Honestly, there’s no shortage of dinosaur resources available. A visit to a local natural history museum would be a nice tie-in.  National Geographic Kids has a wealth of dinosaur information, including Creature Features about dinosaurs and this brainteaser quiz. Also, you could try conducting your own dinosaur dig and make your own fossils. Grab some small, plastic dinosaurs (you can usually find these at Joanne’s or other craft stores). Hide them in the sand box and give children shovels and paintbrushes to dig for the dinosaurs. Once you’ve found them, follow these instructions to make your own fossils using clay and plaster of paris.
Every Friday bloggers review “Perfect Picture Books.” Find a complete list of book reviews organized by topic, genre and blogger at author Susanna Leonard Hill’s site.
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28 Replies to “Perfect Picture Book Friday: Dinothesaurus”

  1. This sounds wonderful, Kirsten. I’m very curious to read some of his work anyway. I will definitely check this out. Thanks and have a great weekend!

  2. Love the thought of a Dinothesaurus that teaches words and concepts about dinosaurs in a fun and unique way. Children seem so fascinated with dinosaurs (a fascination that eludes me, I’m sorry to confess) and this sounds like the perfect book to enhance their experience.

    1. Beth, I was no dino fan growing up. But now that I’ve had two boys, I’ve had the privilege to learn lots about them. And now I find them fascinating. Read Kathleen Kudlinsky’s “Boy Were We Wrong About the Dinosaurs.” It’s a great NF PB that showed me a lot of what I learned growing up was indeed wrong.

  3. I love all your non fiction recommendations, and this looks a very funny addition. I confess to occasionally making up words in my kids poetry so it is nice to read the pros do too!

  4. I just love all of your non-fiction recommendations! This is another one to add to my list. Thanks, Kirsten!

  5. Interesting book. I have never been a dinosaurs fan growing up either, but I have a young nephew coming to visit in August who is into them… so will check this out for him. Thanks for this Kirsten.

  6. Just gave The Big Book of Dinosaurs to my almost 7-year old grandson…I know he would LOVE this one. Great review, Kirsten…I love the “made-up” words and rhyme…and kids will love it too…so much for some of the “rules of picture book writing”. 🙂 Great activities…will keep this post to do some of them with the grandkids. 🙂

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