by Julie Middleton
Russell Ayto, illustrator
Inside Jacket: Dad takes Dave to the museum to see the DINOSAURS. Dad is sure he knows all there is to know about these amazing creatures. But soon Dave gets the feeling that Dad has one hugely important fact very, very wrong . . .
Dave and his dad take a trip to the museum to see the dinosaur exhibit. On the way, Dave wants to know if all the dinosaurs are dead. Dad explains that dinosaurs have been gone a long time. In the museum, Dad lets his son know about each dinosaur they approach. He is full of facts about each one.
“Now Dave,” explained Dad, “this handsome fellow is the Ankylosaurus. Look at the fabulous armor plating and bony eyelids.”
“Oh,” said Dave. “It’s winking at me, Dad!”
“Ankylosaurus don’t wink, Dave,” said Dad. “It’s just your imagination.”
Dave must have a wildly realistic imagination because I saw the Ankylosaurus wink at Dave. Honest, I did. The two move on to the Deinocheirus and its long arms and fingers, fingers that tickle young imaginative boys when dads walk ahead of them.
“It’s just your imagination.”
With each new dinosaur, Dave and his imagination continue to get attention from the dinosaurs. Finally, at the very last exhibit, Dad tells Dave what he knows about the Tyrannosaurus Rex. What happens next just might have Dad wondering if dinosaurs are dead.
This is a good book for young dinosaur lovers. Not only is there a funny story between Dave and Dad, but there is good information about each dinosaur in the book, along with a pronunciation key.
Dad is the oblivious adult who no longer has time for imagination. He sees the facts. When his son tells him the dinosaur has done something, such as wink at him, Dad brushes it off as childhood imagination. If he had not done that, I wonder if the ending would have been less dramatic for Dad.
I think this is a good bedtime/nap book. There are many opportunities for adults to immerse themselves into the story, taking the part of the once-dead-now-alive dinosaurs. Of course, the giggles might make it a little difficult for sleep to arrive.
At first look, this seems to be great for boys—and it is—yet girls will also like Are Dinosaurs Dead, Dad? The illustrations are terrific with interesting dinosaurs, color from edge-to-edge, and little details, such as a sign saying “mind the tail,” or the dinosaur graph with various dinosaurs in odd positions, some with a tongue hanging out.
Dad and Dave are the only people in each exhibit and they are tiny compared to the massive girths of each dinosaur. Many of the dinosaurs stretch out across the spread when Dad obliviously walks off to the next exhibit. Adding more character, each dinosaur is fleshed out with imaginative features, rather than the usual skeletal presentation. Mr. Ayto also illustrated the equally whimsical Where Teddy Bears Come From.
I think kids will find Are Dinosaurs Dead, Dad? informative and extremely funny. When asked, “Read it again?” parents will not mind obliging repeatedly. This is Julie Middleton’s first picture book.
by Julie Middleton website Russell Ayto, illustrator wikipage Peachtree Publishers website blog Released March 2013 ISBN: 978-1-56145-690-1 32 pages Ages 4 to 8 Copyright ©2013 by Peachtree Publishers, used with permission Text: copyright © 2013 by Julie Middleton Illustrations: copyright © 2013 by Russell Ayto
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- Are the Dinosaurs Dead, Dad? and Other Prehistoric Picture Books (teachwithpicturebooks.blogspot.com)