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:
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.