Today’s storytime was a classic theme — all things dinosaur. We sang about a gigantosaurus, we hunted down a triceratops, and we created some dancing tyrannosaurus rex that put Fred Astaire to shame. Of course in the middle of all the dinosaur-insanity, we read some books — and a couple of them were doozies. Here are a few that had the kids chuckling and roaring:
Dinosaurs Love Underpants by Claire Freedman & Ben Cort — I have to admit, I loved this book before I even cracked it open. Dinosaurs. Underpants. ‘Nuff said. But being the responsible children’s librarian that I am, I read the book before I shared it with the kids, and it was indeed riotous, silly, and everything a kid would want in a dinosaur-underpants book. The story is simple– cavemen invent underpants so they don’t have to walk around naked. Dinosaurs love the idea, and take all the cavemen’s underpants. Dinosaurs love the underpants a little too much, and end up fighting each other into extinction over underwear. Yes, a little ridiculous — but then realism is not to be expected in storytime. At least not in my storytimes!
While the story isn’t perfect (several of the rhymes are stretches — “itchy” rhymes with “pinchy”? “Shock” rhymes with “amok”??), the concept is funny enough to keeps kids laughing the whole way through. And the illustrations elevate the whole book to hilarious heights – brightly-colored dinosaurs sporting ruffly, polka-dotted, striped & furry briefs. Even the end papers tickle the funny bone — two page spreads of nothin’ but underpants. A perfect book for dinosaur lovers, or anyone who cracks up with they hear the word underpants.
Dinosaur vs. Bedtime by Bob Shea — This may well be my favorite dinosaur story. At the very least, it’s in the top three. Lots of roaring, lots of jumping, lots of chomping, and lots of winning. A bright-red, very simply drawn dinosaur takes on a variety of challenges — dinosaur vs. a pile of leave, dinosaur vs. a bowl of spaghetti, dinosaur vs. talking grown-ups — and dinosaur always wins. Until he faces his greatest challenge — bedtime! Dinosaur tries to vanquish his foe with roar upon roar upon roar, but in the end, dinosaur falls asleep and bedtime wins.
It’s hard to articulate just why I love this book as much as I do. The plot is virtually non-existent, the text is minimal, and the illustrations are spare. But Shea has created something extraordinary here. It’s lively, funny, action-packed, and filled with opportunities for kids to channel their inner dinosaur. The illustrations juxtapose a cartoon-like dinosaur with photos, fabrics, and engaging backdrops. And the changing size and style of the typeface add a dynamic dimension that is often missing in picture books. All-tolled, this is a book that is far greater than the sum of its parts, and one that should not be missed by any dino-phile.
Have a dino-tastic day!