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Dinosaurs Don't, Dinosaurs Do

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Jennifer Greene
Have you ever wondered why everyone loves dinosaurs? It's because dinosaurs treat others the way they want to be treated, of course! In this retelling of the Golden Rule, cartoonist Steve Bj?rkman illustrates his book with amusing, colorful scenes of dinosaurs behaving badly juxtaposed with depictions of dinosaurs engaged in more appropriate behavior. The settings include everything from kitchens, to a beach, to a wedding. While the text is not very demanding, the illustrations are fun and full of activity. Many of the etiquette lessons rely on pictures to convey the information, as the text uses general, demonstrative words that point to the illustrations. For example, one page reads "dinosaurs don't do this," showing a dino popping another's balloon, and "dinosaurs do this," as the illustration shows the dinosaurs sharing. Another section dictates "dinosaurs don't run here," referring to the china shop in the picture, and concludes "dinosaurs do run here," while showing a playground. This style allows children to speculate what is appropriate and inappropriate in the various scenes, while opening the door for questioning and discussion with teachers or parents. The dinosaurs make interesting, cute characters. Many favorites appear, like the ferocious T-Rex, the smaller Allosaurus, the winged Pterodactyl, the horned Triceratops, the scaled Stegosaurus, the tall Brachiosaurus, the club-tailed Ankylosaurus, the duck-billed and crested Parasaurolophus, and the sailed Dimetrodon. Interestingly, there is not just one bully throughout the pages. Even the out-of-control T-Rex, often the model of bad behavior, gets a face full of mud from the Allosaurus. The Ankylosaurus is greedy in one section, and then cowed by mean words in the next. In this way, the text conveys the idea that everyone should be aware of their own behavior. Preschoolers, interacting with peers for perhaps the first time, will find this easy-to-read book of particular use. Reviewer: Jennifer Greene
Kirkus Reviews

Straightforward behavior modeling for newly fledged independent readers.

Illustrating his points with pairs of bright, informally drawn and colored cartoons featuring recognizable dinos in modern playgrounds and other familiar settings, Björkman contrasts bad manners with better ones. "Dinosaurs don't eat like this. Dinosaurs eat like this." (A marmalade T. Rex tosses syrupy pancakes into his mouth, spattering goo everywhere, while at the other end of the table, a hadrosaur politely offers the syrup to a pterodactyl; both have bite-sized pieces of pancake poised on forks.) "Dinosaurs don't hit or bite. When they are mad, dinosaurs use words." (That troublesome T. Rex pounds a purple, horned dinosaur, having already bitten off its tail; meanwhile, a green Dimetrodon mildly points out to an apologetic, brown Ankylosaurus that the latter broke his toy.) Summing up his message with a version of the Golden Rule ("Dinosaurs treat others as they want to be treated. That is why everyone loves dinosaurs!") and steering clear of any direct or indirect reference to the possibility of punishment, the author leaves it to readers to make their choices on a moral or ethical basis. Though unlikely on its own to spark any revolutionary changes in behavior, this approach does at least provide a starting point for reflection or discussion.

Likely little more than an exercise in wishful thinking, but well meant and philosophically solid. (Early reader. 4-6)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780823423552
  • Publisher: Holiday House, Inc.
  • Publication date: 8/12/2011
  • Pages: 24
  • Sales rank: 1,400,510
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Lexile: 220L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 8.10 (w) x 10.10 (h) x 0.30 (d)

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