Saturday, 20 October 2012

Dinosaur books for children and toddlers.

 Please see my previous post Paleaontology and dinosaur books for older children as many books will appeal to more than one age group as well. These are my recommendations for younger dinosaur mad children, including both fiction and no fiction. The links in blue are to my reviews on dooyoo which will be longer and more in depth.

Bumpus Jumpus Dinosaurumpus
This is a rhyming story with a brilliant rhythm that even the youngest child will pick up on. It starts of with "a quake and a quiver and a rumbling around" and builds up to a proper dinosaur bash. There is a bit of a fright as a fearsome Tyrannosaurus crashes is, but thankfully he only wants to join in the fun and the wild romp continues until finally the exhausted dinosaurs tumble in heap and fall asleep.

When my children were babies I acted out the dance with them - waving their arms stamping their feet etc... Now that they are older they do themselves and our whole house shakes with the dinosaur romp.

 In my opinion, this is one of the best books ever for babies and still very popular with older children. It is bright, colourful and teaches children a number of dinosaur names, but more importantly, it teaches young children to love books. I read this book to both of my sons froma  very early age ( 8 months and 6 months) and both fell in love with the story. It is still popular today and theya re now ages 4 and 7.  If you could buy only one book for a young a child - I would recommend this one.

The Three Little Dinosaurs
Second only to Bumpus Jumpsus Dinosaurumpus, this is another wonderful story book for children from infancy up to perhaps age 8.

I bought this book for my 4 year old as my 7 year has long since outgrown picture books. As it turned it though, both boys loved this and laughed until they had tears in their eyes. I had no sooner finished reading the book when they both asked to hear it again. This book is a twist on the classic story of the three little pigs but told with so much humour it is certain to be a favourite with any child who loves dinosaurs - and most likely a number who do not. The banter between the dinosaurs is brilliantly scripted. The T -Rex insists on calling the little Brachiosaurs pigs and it develops into a first class slagging match in which the bully always comes off the worst.

The Tyrannosaurus Rex is determined to eat the three tiny Brachiosaurs. But they finally find safety in a house of stone. T-Rex won't give up though - he spends years plotting and planning. But while Brachiosaurs are born small, like all sauropods - they grow very rapidly. When Tyrannosaurus returns he gets quite a surprise. This means this book could also be a good a choice for a child dealing with bullies, but the main reason to buy this book is just for the fun of it. This is the type of book that will encourage children to grow up loving books. This is the type of book that children can enjoy listening to for years to come.

I have collected children's books for many years, and in all honesty have a larger collection than most children's libraries. We only keep the best books and even so have book cases in every room of the house. Even with a collection this large - this stands out as one of the very best picture books I have ever found.

Dinosaur (DK Touch and Feel)
 Another book for infants, but still enjoyed by older children, this book allows children to feel the scaly skin of a dinosaur and the sticky tongue of T Rex. Most young children very much enjoy tactile books and this adds a whole new dimension to story time.

Danny and the Dinosaur
 An I Can Read book this cute story of a museum dinosaur who comes to life for the day also makes an excellent resource for emergent readers to practice their skills.

Ankylosaurus Fights Back (Smithsonian's Prehistoric Pals)
The illustrations are lovely and the story is well written. In this story Anklysaurus uses his tail to fend off a carnivore - but spends most of his time eating --- and farting much to the delight of my 4 year old son. It seems the plants Anklyosaurus ate produce a lot of wind.

In addition to the story, brief facts on this type of dinosaur are included. I would be point out that this series has been printed in more than one format. There is a hardback version, as well as a large paperback book with a beautiful pull out poster - or a very small miniature paper back book - perhaps 4" tall. We ended up with the small version but it is still well loved. Some even include soft toys and cd-roms. Read carefully to be sure you get the edition you want.

Parasaurolophus Escapes [With Tear-Out Poster]
 This book is also from Smithsonian's prehistoric Pals series, and I would note that there are several other books available including ones about Velocoraptor, Spinosaurus, Mosasurus, Iguanadon and Pteranodon. We bought the larger paperback edition of this book - which included a lovely pull out poster. The story is simple, but fun and the illustrations are lovely. I would recommend for ages 2 -5.

Mungo and the Dinosaur Island - Timothy Knapman

'Mungo and the Dinosaur Island' combines dinosaurs, hunters which reminded us of pirates, and plenty of adventure, but it all begins in a library. I liked this. I liked the fact that books could be seen as a doorway to adventure. Mungo chooses a book called the Lost Island, and settles down to read it later that night in bed. The story begins with some terrible pirates who plan to capture a rare butterfly to sell. But soon they find more unusual animals to exploit - Dinosaurs. A few are very large, but most are tiny ( my son didn't think any of this because we've already used the idea that animals could become smaller with each generation in a small environment like an island). Thankfully Stegosaurus may be tiny, but he is brave. He is all set to save the day when disaster strikes. Mungo turns the page too soon, and Stegosaurus hasn't had a chance to chase the hunters away. There is only one chance left for the poor captured dinosaurs. Mungo must go into the book with Stegosaurus and help him defeat the evil villains.

The first thing to strike me with this book was the illustrations. They are absolutely brilliant. The cover art is nice, but it doesn't do justice to the rest of the book. Everything is so bright and colourful, the expressions on the dinosaurs are perfect, and the illustrator has brought the story to life perfectly. The story itself is excellent as well. It is wonderful adventure, but never really frightening.

 My son says this book must get 5 stars as it is "the very best". He says the best part of all is the Stegosaurus biting the bad guys butt - something I imagine most young children would enjoy. He also loves the look on the Stegosauruses face when he screams "NOOOOOO!" and the look of surprise on the hunters face when he finds out what looks like a rock is something very different. I'd have given this five stars on illustrations alone, but combined with a wonderful story, this book really is a must have for any child who enjoys Dinosaurs.

Non Fiction:
Dinosaur's Day (DK Readers Level 1)

Dinosaur Dinners (DK Readers Level 2)
 This is listed as level 2 book for reading, but it is quite easy still with large text. I would recommend this for independent reading from age 6, but it is even better as fun story book for very children. I would recommend this as story book from age 1 with it's delightfully scary hungry dinosaurs looking at you. My four year old loves this one as well. This also explains the difference between herbivore and carnivore.

Project X: Dinosaur Safari
Project X is an exceptional series of leveled readers designed to get boys reading. This book is an easy to read informative book. It is not the most in depth, but for only 24 pages with a limited amount of easy to read text it packs in quite a lot of material. If this book sounds interesting - why not try my link below for  Oxford Owl under Home Education freebies. It contains the entire book online so you can try it for yourself. This book is meant to be for ages 7-8, but my son read this at age 6 and my youngest has used it as a storybook since age 2.

Dinosaur Encyclopedia (First Reference)
DK's usual high quality text and illustration for younger readers. This is a favourite with my four year old.

Also recommended:
Dinosaur (Eye Wonder)
National Geographic Little Kids: First Big Book of Dinosaurs
Meet the Dinosaurs (DK Readers Pre-Level 1)
My Best Book of Dinosaurs

Ten Little Dinosaurs (Wiggle Eyes)
This is one of the best counting books we have, and easily doubles as bedtime story. What makes this book unique is the addition of two large googley eyes. These are weighted so that they will face up. When the book is closed the eyeballs face outwards as shown. As you open the over you can see the eyeballs turn around - and a bit of movement can make it appear as if the dinosaur is actually watching you. All of the subsequent pages have two holes for the eyeballs to peer through - or you can have a bit of fun and hold the book up to your face and make all sorts of dinosaur noises. Of course no one knows what dinosaurs sounded like - which leaves us free to make up our own sounds - everything from roars and growls to long drawn out conversations from the Saurolophus.

This book begins like the 10 little monkeys rhyme, but instead of monkeys we have dinosaurs, in this case, 10 little Pachycephalosaurus jumping on the bed. Pachycephalosaurus are the ones with a very thick dome shaped skull with wee spikes around it. When the inevitable accident occurs - the doctors says "No more boneheads bouncing on the bed.

As we count down from 10, each number has a different species. Rather than each page showing them jumping on the bed, the author has introduced some variety to the story with a number of different activities including 9 dinosaurs on one bike, playing in traffic and arguing with an umpire. Each set of pages has 4 rhyming lines and a nick name for the species pictured - often insulting like "big mouths" and "nut brains". The verses fit into the rhythm of the original 10 Little monkeys rhyme, giving this an immediate familiarity, and making it a very pleasant book to read or listen to. The dinosaurs featured in this book are as follows: Pachycephalosaurus, Stegosaurus, T Rex, Spinosaurus, Archaeopteryx , Ankylosaurus, Supersaurus, Chasmosaurus, Saurolophus and Triceratops. Of course Archaeopteryx is not really a dinosaur, but is a pterosaur, but this book isn't really meant to be a serious science book so I can almost overlook that one.

Dinosaur Alphabet Book by Jerry Pallotta and An Alphabet of Dinosaurs by Peter Dodson
are both quite similar. Both books feature beautiful painted illustrations with a different dinosaur for each letter and both also contain detailed information for each dinosaur featured, meaning they can be enjoyed long after a child has learned their ABC's.. The Jerry Pallotta book hide a slight edge as far as information in my opinion, but teh Peter Dodson book came up trumps on illustration.  The book by Pallotta featured  a large bold upper and lower case letter for each page though an the Dodson book did not. In fact, as much as it goes against my nature to deface a book - I ended up writing in the letters myself in the Dodson book as I felt the purpose of an alphabet book was defeated by leaving them out.

Dinosaur ABC Colouring Book (Dover Coloring Books)
 I bought this when my 4 year old requested a dinosaur colouring book, thinking he could work on his ABC's while colouring in. When it arrived he insisted the pictures were to nice for him to colour as he might make mistakes - but we have just copied off pages for him to colour, paint or do other projects with.

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