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Thursday, July 24, 2014

If You Happen to Have a Dinosaur, written by Linda Bailey and illustrated by Colin Jack. Tundra Books, 2014. $19.99 ages 4 and up

"In winter, it' a snowplow.

And on hot summer days,
just park it by the pool.

Your friends will line up
to try your exciting new
diving board!

Just think of all the things
your dinosaur can do."

I haven't worked in a kindergarten or early years classroom for a while; I suspect that there are still many children whose appreciation of and hunger for anything 'dinosaur' remain strong. Is that true?

If you just happen to have one lying around, and are wondering what to do with it, Linda Bailey has some imaginative and amusing suggestions for you. Just in case you have trouble trying to conjure up the images presented in the text, Colin Jack does an admirable job of bringing them to glorious life.

For those of us who will be sharing this story (repeatedly) there is much to appreciate about it. The text is lively, and filled with some truly funny ways to use that dinosaur. With each turn of the page, the growing list of ideas will encourage giggles and perhaps even more tasks to be accomplished by such a useful helper:

"There are oodles of things you can 
do with a dinosaur.
Try taking it into your yard. 
It will mow your lawn, 
trim your trees, 
blow your leaves
and dig you a garden in not time flat."

Hey, I could use one of those! 

The boldly colored digital illustrations are a perfect complement to the joy found in the words. The expressive faces, the recognizable species, the many entertaining details will encourage children to explore further, using their own imaginations. There is sure to be talk as you share the many wonderful details. Should things with your dinosaur not go so well, or you don't have one, remember that you have options:

"But what if you don't happen
to have a dinosaur lying
around your living room?"

Now, the ball is in your court!

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