How Do Dinosaurs Say Good Night? by Jane Yolen

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How Do Dinosaurs Say Good Night? by Jane Yolen

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Category: For Sharing
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Magda Healey
Reviewed by Magda Healey
Summary: Illustrations in this board book are fantastic, and the text and settings would appeal to parents struggling with children kicking up a fuss at bedtime while the dinosaur theme (with a twist) would appeal to the little 'uns.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 32 Date: February 2007
Publisher: Harper Collins Children's Books
ISBN: 978-0007235612

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A simple text (with a lot of rhythm and some rhyme) that asks the title question 'How Do Dinosaurs Say Good Night?' and proceeds to reassure us (and by us, I mean harassed parents, not unruly toddlers) that dinosaurs do not, indeed, throw teddy bears around nor they shout "I want one book more" nor they fall on the top of their covers and cry - when Mama or Papa come to say goodnight.

This in itself is a clever little idea, using the now seemingly permanent dinosaur mania amongst small children to provide them with a text about bedtime which they will certainly be able to empathise with. And we can hope that the dinosaur example will be taken on board...

The masterstroke which lifts this book form a reasonably cute/reasonably mundane to excellent is the illustrations. They are wonderful: big, bold (although not in primary-only colours often overused by children's artists), detailed and as (sur)realistic as they come. You see, the family is not, refreshingly, a family of dinosaurs, which would make it one of the thousands anthropomorphised animal families populating books for small children.

This family consists of a perfectly human father and mother (we actually have several mothers and fathers of various apparels, ages and ethnicities) and dinosaur children. And glorious dinosaurs they are, of a dinosaur-ish size, veritably filling up the bedroom, colorful, very lifelike (as far as I can judge) and with very, very expressive countenances indeed.

Toddlers and small children need independence, but they also need reassurance of love and they still have very little sense and almost no ability to control their own emotional outbursts which sometimes terrify them. Exposing the 'dinosaur within', which eventually gives everybody a big hug and a kiss and goes to sleep with his teddy is not only extremely entertaining, but also can be cathartic.

For parents, it's a solid board book that will take a lot of wear, and the pictures have a strongly surrealist mood to them, not only because of the juxtaposition of the gigantic, colorful dinosaurs with normal household interiors, but also subtle touches in clothing, facial expressions and body postures.

The closest analogy to this book is the subconciousness-exploring classic Maurice Sendak book Where the Wild Things Are: this book doesn't go as deep or as far, but still comes with a strong recommendation for children aged 1.5 to 3 with even remote interest in things saurian; and a must for true fans.

Thanks to HarperCollins for entertaining us with such a good book!

If you like this book then you might also enjoy some other books for small children with rather large and magical creature, such as Julia Donaldson's The Gruffalo or The Tiger Who Came to Tea by Judith Kerr.

Booklists.jpg How Do Dinosaurs Say Good Night? by Jane Yolen is in the Top Ten Picture Books For Overcoming Bedtime Woes.
Buy How Do Dinosaurs Say Good Night? by Jane Yolen at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy How Do Dinosaurs Say Good Night? by Jane Yolen at Amazon.co.uk


Buy How Do Dinosaurs Say Good Night? by Jane Yolen at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy How Do Dinosaurs Say Good Night? by Jane Yolen at Amazon.com.

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