Dinoblock by Christopher Franceschelli

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Dinoblock by Christopher Franceschelli

Buy Dinoblock by Christopher Franceschelli at Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Category: For Sharing
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Lorraine McDonald
Reviewed by Lorraine McDonald
Summary: An appropriately chunky book that introduces twenty plus dinosaurs to the very young. Visual similes emphasise key characteristics and die cut pages give an additional sensory dimension to the dinosaur's outline. No scary monsters here. These dinosaurs seem a friendly bunch. An unusual and creative board book that perhaps runs a little long at 96 pages.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 96 Date: July 2015
Publisher: Harry N. Abrams, Inc
ISBN: 9781419716744

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As befits a book about dinosaurs, 'Dinoblock' is suitably chunky. Not monstrously large but enticingly substantial in a 'pick me up and read me' kind of way. Inside this board book, twenty plus beasts are on parade. If you don't know your Triassic from your Jurassic step, or maybe that should be stomp, this way…

'Dinoblock' opens with two youngsters arriving at the steps of a natural history museum. The first two pages open up to reveal the interior of the museum in a quadruple page spread. Then it's on with the dinosaur line up. Well, not quite, as in this book each dinosaur is preceded by a page with a simile to illustrate a defining characteristic of the beast that follows. So, Diplodocus, a childhood favourite of mine, is 'long like a whale'. The Spinosaurus, a new name for me, 'floats like a crocodile'. Not every comparator is an animal – the Brachiosaurus can 'stretch like a ladder on a fire truck' and the Sauroposeidon is 'tall like a six story building'. To further emphasise the comparison the page is die cut to outline the dinosaur's silhouette so the ladder stretching up from the fire engine becomes the long neck of the Brachiosaurus on the next page.

No need to get your tongue in a twist with difficult names here as each is spelt out phonetically. Maiasaura (MY-ah-SORE-ah). Micropachycephalosaurus. (MY-cro-PACK-ee-SEFF-ah-low-SORE-us). I may still stumble a bit over that second example. So we learn the name, have one characteristic illustrated with a simile and emphasised by a cut out in the board, then see a picture of what each dinosaur looked like. The book concludes with a double page spread of all the dinosaurs drawn to scale, opening up to a quadruple spread of the skeletons on display in the museum.

The illustrations in 'Dinoblock' are warm and friendly. Whilst the dinosaurs stop short of sporting long eyelashes and big grins, they are uniformly large eyed and faintly smiling. Even tyrannosaurus who is 'ferocious like a bear', manages a laugh whilst roaring. 'Dinoblock' is firmly in toddler pre-school territory. Whilst visually pleasing and informative on matters of pronunciation, it is probably too short on facts for older paleontologists in the making. That said, my young toddler finds this a long read. There are a lot of dinosaurs to get through and his attention wanes by about dinosaur fifteen. To hasten the end and the reward of that quadruple spread, Mummy sometimes accelerates the extinction of some of the line up in a fairly arbitrary manner… no matter we always have the energy left to end with a big roar. Roooo-ar!

For more pre-historic education Robert Crowther's Pop up Dinosaur Alphabet by Robert Crowther seems to offer a similarly large range of dinosaurs with the addition of letter learning.

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Buy Dinoblock by Christopher Franceschelli at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Dinoblock by Christopher Franceschelli at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy Dinoblock by Christopher Franceschelli at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Dinoblock by Christopher Franceschelli at Amazon.com.


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