Book Buzz: If I Had a Dinosaur
If I Had a Dinosaur
Written by Alex Barrow, illustrated by Gabby Dawnay
Ages 4 and up, Thames & Hudson
Kids are learning, eating, growing, running, sleeping, goofing off machines. But the most important part of this list is learning. Kids look, listen, touch and taste as they are learning about the world around them.
What would happen if a little girl was bored with small pets like a dog, cat, hamster or mouse? What if she wanted something bigger? What if she wanted a dinosaur? What on earth could she possibly do with a pet the size of a house?
Alex Barrow’s clever rhyming poem answers those questions in very humorous ways. The story moves along quickly as the little girl imagines all the wonderful things she and the dinosaur would do together. Riding to school, brushing its teeth and learning the alphabet are just a few amusing topics on her mind.
Of course, the enormous size difference between the dinosaur and, well, just about anything is hilarious to even think about and to see illustrated. Not to mention how the dinosaur would fit into everyday life around the house… and I do mean AROUND THE HOUSE! Imagine! A huge green dinosaur lying around the living room during family time!
Gabby Dawnay’s flat color illustrations are humorous and whimsical. The unique page design, with lots of white space and type placement allows young eyes to search the page for every nuance of the story. There are many little sparkling gems of whimsy caught up within the illustrations that are never mentioned in the text. This makes it especially fun for the reader, or the read-to, to search for them and giggle when found. For example, the size difference between a cat door flap and a dino door flap is hilarious. By the way, how the dinosaur get through that little flap door is anybody’s guess.
Learning to take responsibility for and care of pets is an important part of childhood. To take that care to the extreme, like caring for a dinosaur that is longer than four buses, makes caring for a cat seem easy by comparison. But then, cats are a different kind of animal… and a different kind of story.
Chuck Galey writes and illustrates picture books. Visit his website to see what he’s up to at www.chuckgaley.com.