When Dinosaurs Die: A Guide to Understanding Death

When Dinosaurs Die: A Guide to Understanding Death

by Laurie Krasny Brown, Marc Brown, Laurie Krasney Brown, Laurie Krasny Brown

The authors explain in simple language the feelings people may have regarding the death of a loved one and the ways to honor the memory of someone who has died.  See more details below


The authors explain in simple language the feelings people may have regarding the death of a loved one and the ways to honor the memory of someone who has died.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Aided again by the amiable dinos from Dinosaurs to the Rescue! and Dinosaurs Divorce, the Browns tackle perhaps their toughest subject to date. Using the frank yet reassuring tack employed in the previous books, the author presents a balanced, comprehensive and age-appropriate explanation of why death occurs and other such issues, and suggests sensible, specific tactics for coping with the resulting loneliness, fright and anger. At the same time, she wisely leaves room for a child's individual response, acknowledging that with the death of a loved one, be it a pet or a parent, "there is no right or wrong way to feel." Equally wisely, she defers some explanations to other adults. For example, after an array of dinosaur characters offers different beliefs on what happens after death, she advises readers, "If you have questions about it, ask your family or your religious leader." Marc Brown's typically busy art contains uplifting details and comical asides, yet does not whitewash the subject matter; one particularly wrenching scenario shows a young dino kneeling at her bed, saying, "Please, God, let Daddy be alive again. I want him back." These astute collaborators provide a commendable service for grieving children and the adults in their lives. Ages 4-8. (Apr.)
School Library Journal
PreS-There are certain subjects that, if not to be trivialized, need to be shown a certain amount of respect. In this book about what death is and the various ways of dealing with it, the dinosaur characters that were so enjoyable in the collaborators' Dinosaurs Travel (Little, 1988) come off as almost horrifyingly blas. The author does stress the need for children to talk about death and the feelings that accompany the loss of a loved one, but the book's structure is flawed to a ruinous level. One moment the dinos are burying a pet hamster in the yard, and the next page shows the family trooping off to grandpa's funeral. Since all of the characters look similar, children may become easily confused. Even worse, some readers may find it offensive that the death of an animal isn't differentiated from that of a loved human being. Also, the illustrations are a problem. Somehow, bright and cheerful dinosaurs with cartoon dialogue balloons are not suited to the subject. There are many better titles on death for this age group, including Norma Simon's The Saddest Time (Albert Whitman, 1986) and Janice Cohn's I Had a Friend Named Peter (Morrow, 1987).-Melissa Hudak, North Suburban District Library, Roscoe, IL
Stephanie Zvirin
Unlike many books on death for little ones, this one doesn't tell a story. Instead, it addresses children's fears and curiosity head-on, and in a largely secular fashion, by answering some very basic questions: "Why does someone die?" "What does "dead" mean?" "What comes after death?" Other questions deal with emotions, and there's a section about death customs (the weakest part of the book). The forthright approach makes the subject seem less mysterious and provides kids with plenty to think about and discuss with their parents. It's the brightly colored artwork, however, that will really enable children to relax with the concept. The pictures are filled with homey clutter and familiar detail, and the activities of the appealingly quirky characters (who resemble dinosaurs in only the broadest way) add a strong, comforting sense of what can only be called normalcy.
Kirkus Reviews
In the newest title in their sensible, upbeat self-help series, the Browns (Dinosaurs to the Rescue, 1992, etc.) take on the subject of death. Crowded cartoons plunge right in, with terse explanations of what it means to be living and how death is part of the cycle. Any philosophical bent soon gives way to illustrations showing a hospital patient hooked up to tubes, premature babies too small to survive, and accident victims (complete with EMS vehicles and IVs), as well as loss of life in war, as the result of social problems, and through suicide. Confusing for a picture-book audience may be the juxtaposition, in one spread, of play with a toy gun—"Bang, bang. You're dead"—with a real dead bird. Feeling, funerals, reincarnation, resurrection, sitting shivah—the few things that don't make it into the text (autopsy, wake) can be found in the glossary. The coverage sometimes raises more questions than it answers (a youngster worries about family finances, only to be soothed by a parent), but just as Dinosaurs Divorce (1986) stressed the continuing love between parents and children, this book, too, has at its center a positive message: Grieve, and go on with living.

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Product Details

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
9.00(w) x 9.50(h) x 0.37(d)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

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