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Saturday, June 17, 2017

Dad and the Dinosaur, written by Gennifer Choldenko and illustrated by Dan Santat. G. P. Putnam's Sons, Penguin. 2017. $23.99 ages 5 and up

"He needed a dinosaur.
Dinosaurs like the dark,
bugs are nothing to them,
and they eat manhole covers
for lunch and everything
under them for dinner.

When Little Nick had his
 dinosaur in his pocket,
he was just as brave as
Big Nick."

There is nothing Nicholas worries about when his trusty dinosaur takes up residence in his pocket, even though he does harbor a few fears without it: of the dark, of bugs, and of whatever is on the underside of a manhole cover. He doesn't want to be afraid; he would rather be just like his dad, Big Nick. He isn't afraid of anything!

As long as the dinosaur is where it is supposed to be Nicholas is content. He climbs walls, scores against impressive soccer goalies, swims like a fish. So, after sticking it in his sock during the soccer game when he scores a goal, he assumes the dinosaur is secure. Or is it?

"But when it was time to
leave, the dinosaur was gone.
Nicholas searched from one
end of the field to the other,
until it grew dark.

"What are
you doing, Nick?"

Nicholas said."

Danger lurks outside the car on the drive home. No dinner, no dinosaur to help him settle to sleep, bad dreams. With Dad's encouragement following a bad dream, Nicholas finally admits to losing his dinosaur. Off they go to search again. Find it they do, and bravery returns! Now, the two have a shared secret.

Dan Santat does a superb job using mixed media to create a soothing look at fears allayed. The dinosaur is evident as a calming presence on many spreads, as are the fears when the toy is missing.
Great storytelling and expressive, knowing artwork make this a book perfect for sharing, and especially comforting when celebrating Father's Day tomorrow. What a collaboration!

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