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1. Science Poetry Pairings - Dinosaurs

What is it about dinosaurs that so captures the attention of children and adults alike? Is it their size and the fact that so many grew to be so very large? Is it the mystery of their extinction? I suppose for me the interest comes from the fact that every time a new skeleton, nest, or coprolite is unearthed our ideas change and are challenged as we learn something new.  

Today's pairing celebrates of our longstanding fascination with dinosaurs.

Poetry Book
Dinothesaurus: Prehistoric Poems and Paintings, written and illustrated by Douglas Florian, is a collection of 20 poems chock full of information about dinosaurs. Each double page spread contains an illustration and a poem. The illustrations were done with gouache, collage, colored pencils, stencils, dinosaur dust, and rubber stamps on primed brown paper bags and are full of interesting little tidbits. For example, the pages for the poem Iguanodon has a female dinosaur (Iguano-Donna) who is wearing bracelets and a pearl necklace. Before, during, and after reading the accompanying poems they beg to be looked over carefully. The poems themselves are laced with puns, word play, and made-up words. A pronunciation guide for each dinosaur name and the name’s meaning are included below each title. Here's an example.
Pterosaurs
TERR-oh-sawrs (winged lizards)

The pterrifying pterosaurs
Flew ptours the ptime of dinosaurs.
With widespread wings and pteeth pto ptear,
The pterrorized the pteeming air.
They were not ptame.
They were ptenacious--
From the Ptriassic
Pto the Cretaceous.

Poem ©Douglas Florian. All rights reserved.
You can check out some of the artwork and read additional poems from the book at Florian Cafe.

Nonfiction Picture Book
Born to Be Giants: How Baby Dinosaurs Grew to Rule the World, written and illustrated by Lita Judge explores how dinosaurs hatched from eggs grew and survived to become some of the largest creatures that ever walked the earth. The watercolor illustrations do a fine job of depicting these beasts, giving readers a clear sense of what they may have looked like, what their coloration may have been, and how their nests may have been constructed.

Judge uses evidence discovered by paleontologists and uses that information to hypothesize how dinosaurs may have behaved. She also describes dinosaurs by making comparisons to living animals. Here's an excerpt that shows just how deftly she combines these two approaches.
Some plant-eating dinosaurs kept their nests safe by grouping into large colonies. Over a thousand fossilized nests of HYPACROSAURUS, a duck-billed dinosaur, were found in one area!

Penguins, pelicans, and many seabirds gather at huge nesting sites today. The nests are clustered with just enough space to fit babies and adults. The parents work together, alerting each other if a predator comes near.
There are many comparisons to modern-day birds here, and given the view that some species of dinosaurs may have evolved to become today's birds, these are reasonable comparisons to draw.

Judge doesn't shy away from difficult vocabulary in the text, using words like altricial and precocial. However, readers are supported in understanding these words through simple, explanatory sentences, as well as the inclusion of a glossary. Here's an example.
Most bird species today are altricial. Their babies are helpless when they hatch, with wobbly, undeveloped legs and weak necks. The hatchlings must stay in the nest until they grow stronger and older. It is likely that Maiasaura were altricial—like robins today.
Eight species of dinosaur are explored in the book. Early on readers are introduced to Argentinosaurus, a dinosaur that likely weighed as much as 17 elephants. Imagine for a moment just how large this dinosaur must have been. Now juxtapose this with the knowledge that the largest dinosaur eggs ever found were only 18 inches long. As Judge tells readers, "These mothers probably couldn't protect their tiny babies without trampling them underfoot." Judge continues:
A herd of Argentinosaurus was an earth-shaking, bone crushing stampede of feet. Their tiny babies probably hid under forest cover. Hungry, meat-eating dinosaurs stalked them for a bite-sized meal. Huge crocodiles ate them. Even little mammals ate them. The babies were hungry all the time and had to find their next meal without becoming one! Only a few survived.
Dinosaurs may have been giants, but surviving to adulthood was no easy task. The text leaves readers much to ponder while also providing a wealth of factual information. There are some brief notes in the back matter about each of the dinosaur species, including pronunciation (always important with dinosaur names), approximate size, location of fossils, and period of appearance.

Perfect Together
While Florian's pomes may be whimsical, they do open up insights into dinosaurs and can raise questions for readers. A good question to ask is, "Do you think that's true?" Together you can look for those answers, some of which may come from Judge's book.

For additional resources, consider these sites.
  • Learn all about Sue at The Field Museum. (You DO know who Sue is, right?)
  • The Dinosauria at the University of California Museum of Paleontology has a wealth of information about dinosaurs and the fossil record.
  • The Smithsonian Museum of Natural History has a dinosaur site with a great deal of information and interactive resources.
  • BBC Nature Prehistoric Life is the companion to a number of BBC shows. You'll find a wealth of information here.
  • The Natural History Museum (UK) has a great dinosaur site for kids.
  • The Scholastic teachers site has an interactive whiteboard ready guide to dinosaurs that is packed with materials for students and teachers. 

One Additional Book
If you want to combine your exploration of dinosaurs with ideas about the nature of science, considering adding this wonderful book.

Boy, Were We Wrong About Dinosaurs!, written by Kathleen Kudlinski and illustrated by S.D. Schindler, not only describes our changing ideas about dinosaurs, but also makes it clear to readers that as more evidence is unearthed, our ideas are likely to change again. Readers will enjoy looking at the illustrations that compare "old" ideas about the way dinosaurs looked to the views held today, and will marvel at the images of dinosaurs with feathers. This is a great introduction to dinosaurs and a wonderful treatment of the work scientists do as they work to expand our understanding of the world.

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2. Dinosaurs app review

 Dinosaurs app reviewMany kids visit natural history museums for school field trips or just for fun. Around here it’s the Harvard Natural History Museum (home of the stunning glass flowers room and free to Massachusetts residents on Sunday mornings). Chicago has the Field Museum. And in the NY/NJ/CT tri-state area kids flock to the American Museum of Natural History. The museum, with ongoing renovations and advancement (including the state-of-the-art Rose Center for Earth and Space including a shiny new Hayden Planetarium), is home to a vast and impressive collection. But what’s most memorable to fossil-heads about the AMNH are the staggeringly impressive fossil halls.

Nothing beats seeing those dinos in person, but with Dinosaurs (2010) the AMNH has created a useful and engaging app that lets you get close to the real thing. It starts with an amazing mosaic in the shape of a T-rex’s head. Double-tap anywhere on the head to zoom in; now you can see how individual rectangles — over a thousand! — make up the big T-rex picture. Double-tap again to get even closer — now you can see each image (fossils, scientists, dioramas, archival photos) more clearly. Another tap brings you closer, then another isolates the image. (NB: At any time, pinching or stretching apart your fingers on the screen lets you zoom in or out.) The Info button at the top right of each picture tells more about what’s going on; you can then email the photo, add comments, or look at what other people have said (often “Wow!”).

A simple three-button navigation at the bottom of the screen allows you to jump back to the full mosaic; read “Stories” (i.e., select from an alphabetical listing of dinosaurs, with helpful thumbnail pictures, then tap to learn more about that dino — Scientific Name, Specimen #, Age, etc.); and access “AMNH Extras” including museum information and Educators Guide PDFs.

dinos in the attic 198x300 Dinosaurs app reviewOk, so this isn’t the most dynamic app. It doesn’t sing or make any dinosaur noises, and nothing moves on its own. Though it sounds anachronistic to describe an app as “old school,” you can say that this is a perfect one for people who prefer their museums the older and dustier the better (minus, of course, the rampant poaching, international theft, and sticky politics – all of which, incidentally, make for a fascinating read in Dinosaurs in the Attic, if you’re just that old school).

Available for iPad (requires iOS 4.2 or later); $1.99.

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The post Dinosaurs app review appeared first on The Horn Book.

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3. #513 – Here Comes Destructo-Saurus! by Aaron Reynolds & Jeremy Tankard

destructosaurus.

Here Comes Destructosaurus!

by Aaron Reynolds & Jeremy Tankard

Chronicle Books    4/01/2014

978-1-4521-2454-4

Age 4 to 8     32 pages

“Watch the unstoppable force of a temper tantrum! Tremble at the enormous mess and disrespectful roaring! Despair as no amount of scolding can stem the heedless fury! Someone is heading for a time-out, Mister!”

Opening

“Watch what you’re doing, Destructosaurus! Do you have to barrel into every city like a bull in a china shop?”

The Story

Destructosaurus walks out of the water. He is knocking things about; building after building falls over. A loud voice yells at him,

“WATCH WHAT YOU’RE DOING, DESTRUCTOSAURUS!”

Destructosaurus stomps through the lake. Fish fly about the city and lake water drenches the people now walking in his path. Oh, no! Flames shoot out of Destructosaurus’s mouth and burns down the harbor. Now Destructosaurus is back stomping the city streets and pushing down buildings.

“WIPE YOUR FEET, DESTRUCTOSAURUS! We just cleaned this street. Now look at the mess you’ve made!”

Destructosaurus tosses buildings out of his way. They fall apart as if made of Lego’s not bricks and mortar. What is Destructosaurus looking for? In anger, Destructosaurus stomps down the city streets swatting at the helicopters, roaring with each swipe.

“DON’T YOU TAKE THAT TONE WITH ME, DESTRUCTOSAURUS!”

Destructosaurus picks up a train station and immediately the voice tells him to put it back down. Wait, what is that in his other hand? Is that what Destructosaurus has been looking for? After a quick hug, Destructosaurus takes his prize back into the sea, temper tantrum over.

Review

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Here Comes Destructo-Saurus! tells the tale of a little boy’s temper tantrum and his mother’s response to all that goes with it. He is tossing things about and roaring all the while his mother tosses out typical parental admonitions: Watch what you’re doing; wipe your feet; watch your manners; get control of yourself. Destructosaurus, um, the little boy does not listen. He continues his raging, tossing buildings, no, no, toys, about the city, I mean house.

With toy in hand, Destructosaurus gives mom a big hug. But, instead of Destructosaurus saying he is sorry, mom says,

“You could have used your words. But, still. Sorry I yelled.”

Mom says she is glad he found his toy, that she feels terrible for thinking him terrible. Maybe Here Comes Destructo-Saurus! is meant for parents. Whether Here Comes Destructo-Saurus! was written to enlighten toddlers or mothers, or simply for fun, it is hilarious. The illustrations show an oversized dinosaur destroying New York City. In a comic book style, the images are fun, brightly colored, and hilarious.

What an imaginative way of showing kids what they look like when they have a temper tantrum. I think kids will enjoy seeing themselves as dinosaurs, and what parent has not called their child a “little monster?” Both toddlers and mothers can laugh at the inevitable behavior all kids and parents go through. In the end, there is a hug and both dinosaur and mother calm down. Back to his happy self, Destructosaurus/toddler runs off to play. But wait, mom wants him to come back and clean up the mess he made. The ending has come full circle.
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Here Comes Destructo-Saurus! will entertain those who read it. Parents might start calling their child call “Destructosaurus” when the child has a temper tantrum; a word that could help the child rein in his or her behavior. Parents might lighten-up on themselves about the sometimes-anger they feel toward their child. And, most importantly, everyone will enjoy a brightly illustrated dinosaur story. Take note: at one point Destructosaurus sucks his thumb and it is absolutely adorable.

Activity Kit for Kids

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Learn more about Here Comes Destructo-Saurus! HERE.

Get your copy at AmazonB&NChronicle Booksyour local bookstore.

Meet the author, Aaron Reynolds:  http://www.aaron-reynolds.com/

Meet the illustrator, Jeremy Tankard:  http://www.jeremytankard.com/

Find more great books at Chronicle Books:  http://www.chroniclebooks.com/

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HERE COMES DESTRUCTO-SAURUS! Text copyright C) 2014 by Aaron Reynolds. Illustrations copyright © 2014 by Jeremy Tankard. Reproduced by permission of the publisher Chronicle Books, San Francisco, CA.

ALSO BY AARON REYNOLDS

destruco

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Read a review of Carnivores HERE!

destructosaurus


Filed under: 4stars, Books for Boys, Children's Books, Library Donated Books, Picture Book Tagged: Aaronn Reynolds, children's behavior, children's book reviews, Chronicle Books, dinosaurs, Jeremy Tankard, relationships, temper tantrums

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4. #506 – Windsor the Bullied Wooly Mammoth by Keith Lohnes & Linda Manne

woolly mammoth.

Windsor The Bullied Wooly Mammoth

by Keith Lohnes

Linda Manne, illustrator

978-0-98949110-5     8/13/2013

Age   6 to 9     72 pages

Amazon Author Description (unedited)

“Walking home from school alone, Windsor the Wooly Mammoth was startled to hear the shouting. Looking up, peering at him from a stone perch, was a mean Tyrannosaurus Rex named Trevor. At that moment, Windsor discovered the shouting was directed at him. The cruel words poked like tiny pins all over Windsor’s body. Why would someone say cruel things to me? I haven’t done anything to him! Windsor did his best to scurry away as fast as possible while all of his friends at school looked on in astonishment. Feeling trapped, alone and isolated, Windsor was confused at Trevor’s behavior. The story takes a turn when Windsor’s best friend Marvin steps into (sic) help. Marvin was concerned that Windsor did not know how to deal with Trevor’s bullying. Being a quiet, shy Mammoth, Windsor didn’t want anyone to know what was happening. Marvin knew better. Identifying the bully and immediately dealing with the events is the only way to make it stop. So Marvin enlisted the help of his friends and went to speak to Trevor about his bullying. In the beginning Trevor was very defensive. Over time however, Trevor began to understand that being a bully made him look bad and treating others poorly was not good for himself or anyone else. As the story and the characters evolve, bullying becomes evident. The resolution is for everyone to come together to prevent the behavior. In the end, Trevor discovers Windsor is a pretty nice Mammoth and they become great friends.”

Opening

“All the other Dinosaurs liked t play in the field after school, except for Winsor the Wooly Mammoth.”

The Story

Windsor loved to read so much that instead of playing with friends after school he reads. On the way home from school, Trevor yelled mean things at Windsor, called him names and threatened to knock his glasses off his face. Windsor was “a geek” because “all you do is read.” Windsor ignored Trevor, but still felt frightened. Trevor’s words and his taunting made Windsor feel bad about himself. The other young dinosaurs said nothing to Trevor. Some even laughed along with him. No one did a thing to help Windsor.

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Everyone knew Windsor liked to read Jurassic Book, a dinosaur social network. Trevor went on the website and wrote mean things about Windsor and Betty Brontosaurus. None of what Trevor wrote was true. Soon dinosaurs who did not know Windsor wrote bad things about him. When he found out, Windsor knew the others would believe the lies. Windsor became so despondent that he no longer wanted to live.

Marvin, Windsor’s best friend, told him to tell someone about Trevor’s bullying. Windsor did not want anyone to know. Marvin went to Betty Brontosaurus for help. Betty talked to all the other kids and explained that what Trevor did to Windsor was mean, hurtful, and wrong. Then Betty talked to Trevor. Trevor responded to Betty by laughing and refused to stop bullying Windsor. Marvin would not give up. He decided to gather all the kids and confront Trevor as a group. Would it help? 

Review

Windsor the Bullied Wooly Mammoth is a cautionary tale about bullying. The bullied kid is different from the other kids. He likes to be alone and read. One dinosaur, Trevor, decides to bully Windsor. Marvin, who is a mouse and Windsor’s best friend, assumes Trevor is lonely because his meanness meant none of the other dinosaurs would play with him. Bullies often are not lonely people or dinosaurs. Kids gathered around Trevor and he considered a few of them friends. I think this missed the mark—in this story—but the author is true when saying bullies are often lonely kids. Most often, though, it is the bullied kid who becomes lonely and alone.

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The text is long. Little kids will have a tough time keeping their attention on the story. The story needs tightened to reduce redundancy, correct punctuation errors, and help the story move along smoothly. Plus, a credit page needs added to the front. Before—on occasion after— a character speaks, the narrator explains what the character will say and why. This happens so often it becomes annoying. It is not necessary to alert the reader to what the character will say or why and then have the character repeat, sometimes verbatim, what the narrator just explained. I felt like the narrator did not trust that readers would catch on to the story.

Betty also explained that she wanted to get to know Trevor a little better.

Betty smiling at Trevor said, “And one other thing Trevor, I would like to get to know you a little better. Most of us don’t know you very well either.”

There were many books about bullies last year and more on the way this year. Windsor the Bullied Wooly Mammoth may be the most ambitious. Usually, we learn about the bullied, how they are bullied, and what to do about that bully. Windsor the Bullied Wooly Mammoth also lets us know how those witnessing the bullying, but not part of it, feel and how they can help, plus why the bully acts as he or she does. Every angle is covered.

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The large sized book has great illustrations on one-half of the spread. The dinosaur and the mouse are cute with their big bright eyes. The dinosaurs have cherry-bright tongues and have different colored complexions. Windsor is the only one to wear eyeglasses and look geeky. He really is out of place in this dinoland. Kids will enjoy the illustrations. The art draws your eye to that side of the spread every time. The back of the cover has a laughing Trevor with the words, “Bullies aren’t born . . . bullies are made!”

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Learn more about Windsor the Bullied Wooly Mammoth HERE.

Buy Windsor the Bullied Wooly Mammoth at Amazon—B&N—Createspaceask your local bookstore

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Links for the author, Keith Lohnes:         blog     facebook      createspace

Links for illustrator, Linda Manne:     flickr     freelanced

WINDSOR THE BULLIED WOOLY MAMMOTH. Text copyright © 2013 by Keith Lohnes. Illustrations copyright © 2013 by Linda Manne. Reproduce by permission of the author, Keith Lohnes.

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windsor wooly mammoth

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Filed under: 4stars, Children's Books, Debut Author, Picture Book Tagged: abuse, being bullied, bullies, children's book reviews, dinosaurs, Keith Lohnes, Linda Manne, picture book, wooly mammoths

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5. #505 – Dinosaurs #1: In the Beginning by Plumeri & Bloz

dino beggingDinosaurs #1: In the Beginning…

by Plumeri & Bloz

translated by Nanette McGuinness

   1/07/2014

978-1-59707-490-2

Age 7 to 9    56 pages

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 Papercutz Website

“Think you know everything there is to know about dinosaurs? Think again! In this brand new series, kid dinos show us what their lives were like in short, funny, teeth-gnashing bursts of prehistoric mayhem. DINOSAURS is your guided tour through the rough-and-tumble world of the mightiest beasts to ever walk the earth!”

Opening

“You want to learn about dinosaur records? Ask Indino Jones! That’s me, hee hee!”

The Story

The Dinosaurs series begins where it must:  In the Beginning. We first meet the local paleontologist, Indino Jones.  Indino likes to introduce in categories. The first is Records such as the fastest dinosaur—Gallimimus, at 40 mph—the most massive dinosaur—Giganotosaurus, at 17, 636 pounds cast over 46 feet—and smartest dinosaur—Troodon, it is as smart as a cat.

From records, the logical place to head is the first dinosaur, beginning in the Triassic, a mere 230 million years ago, is the Eoraptor, a rather little fellow that walked on two legs, making it a fast hunter. Does anyone not know about the Tyrannosaurus rex? T-rex starts out life as one of the smaller creatures, possible bullied by the large reptiles, but in time, T-rex grows from its tiny feathered body to a humongous, 11,000 pound, North American carnivore with an anger management problem.

1fr

What exactly is a dinosaur, other than an extinct creature that once roamed the Earth millions of years ago? “Dinosaur” means Fearfully Great Lizard. Sir Richard Owen invented the term using Greek though many are based on Latin terms, based on postulated descriptions and features of the creature. The first Creature Feature! 

Dinos ruled Earth from 230 to 65 million years ago, but not all dinosaurs lived during the same period of time. They ate most anything that moved and had muscle –carnivores—or gathered plants—herbivores. One other existed, that being the Piscivore, which feasted on fish. There were dinosaurs that walked on two feet and those that crawled on all four. Some carnivores had egg cravings,  pilfering from an unattended nests. Caution was needed to ensure the carnivore didn’t snatch from a pile of eggs ready to hatch, from say a Velociraptor momma. Those babes will be carnivores and hungry.   Indino Jones has much more in store for the reader. In addition to several more dinosaurs, he will explain the value of dinosaur tracks, all about coprolites, marine reptiles, and those creatures that preceded birds. To finish his tour of Dinosaurs #1: In the Beginning, Indino Jones talks about why dinosaurs disappeared from the world.

2fr

Review

Dinosaurs #1: In the Beginning will enthrall kids interested in dinosaurs and reptiles. These early creatures are presented in a light-hearted manner by the paleontologist Indino Jones, a man who loves handling coprolites, yet refuses to pick up after his dog. While Indino acts as the narrator, the dinosaurs speak to one another and have a great time. One dinosaur, the Albertosaurus, discovered in Alberta, Canada looks at the reader and says, “Have a nice day from Alberta,” while menacingly standing over a map of the area.

Kids will witness typical dinosaur behavior, such as a momma guarding her young ones before and after birth. Fighting is common. Many dinosaurs, such as the pointy dragon-headed Dracorex, liked head-butting each other, while the spike-backed Kentrosaurus tries to avoid than I had been aware of existing. Kids will love the varieties and Indino Jones’s commentary.

3fr

The illustrations are grand. Most have a slightly cartoonish bent to them, making the dinosaurs a tad less ferocious than they most likely were millions of years ago. Carnivores like the Allosaurus. It has no trouble killing and then eating another dinosaur, calling his meal, an “American Steak-Osaurus,” while the dead Orintholestes ay on the ground ribs showing, insides flowing out. To counter this the dino-dinner has its tongue out, head on the ground with stars above its now deceased head.

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Learn more about the Dinosaur Series HERE!

Purchase Dinosaurs: In the Beginning at Amazon—B&N—Papercutzyour local bookstore.

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Get to know the author, Arnaud Plumeri     twitter     goodreads

Get to know the illustrator, Bloz

Get to know the translator, Nanette McGuinness       blog     twitter     goodreads     scbwi     jacketflap

Check out more great graphic novels and comics at Papercutz:     website     blog     facebook     twitter      tumblr

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DINOSAURS:  IN THE BEGINNING. Text 6yrrr`copyright © 2010 by Arnaud Plumeri. Illustrations copyright © 2010 by Bloz. Translation copyright © 2014 by Nanette McGuinness. Reproduce by permission of the publisher, Papercutz, New York, NY.

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.ALSO IN THE DINOSAUR SERIES (THUS FAR)

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Dinosaurs #2: Bite of the Albertosaurus    5/06/2014

Dinosaurs #3: Jurassic Smarts    8/05/2014

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dinosaurs 1 in the beginning


Filed under: 5stars, Books for Boys, Favorites, Graphic Novel, Library Donated Books, Middle Grade, Series Tagged: Bloz, children's book reviews, dinosaurs, graphic novel for kids, history of dinosaurs, nanette mcguinness, Papercutz, Plumeri

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6. What have you got hiding in your bathtub?

dinoinbathtubPick up There’s a Dinosaur in my Bathtub by Catalina Echeverri and let your hair down; turn the pages and you’ll enter into a joyous and playful imaginary world with ice-creams so tall you need a ladder to eat them and a roller-coaster ride through a fairground filled with outsized lollipops and candy cane.

Your guides for this adventure of delight are Amelia and her pal Pierre.

Who just happens to be a dinosaur.

From France.

With a magnificent moustache.

Yes, this is a bonkers tale, full of happiness, wish fulfilment and whimsical fun. Oh what mischievous good times can be had with a cheese chomping dinosaur, especially one who can hide so well from your parents!

pierre

Echeverri’s carefree, light-hearted tale combining fantasy food and a (secret) dino of one’s very own is a winner. On a practical note, primary schools with French lessons could include this to jazz up story time, for the text is very lightly seasoned with a few French phrases. But really this book is about fun and nonsense. Silliness, sweets and someone special to share it with – we could all enjoy a dose of that, couldn’t we?

And would you believe it, not long after sharing this book with my girls, what did I discover in our own bathtub?

dino2

It seems Pierre paid us a visit, complete with his beret, and stripy cardigan, manicured moustache and penchant for flouncy fun!

dino1

So now you’ve seen how we created costumes for Mortimer Keene, Squishy McFluff and Pierre the Dinosaur. But there are even more ideas for dressing up as a book character over on Book Aid International’s website.

morecostumeideas

If you’re a regular reader, you’ll know by now that I’m a long running supporter of Book Aid. A few years ago we did a sponsored Librarithon, and then we had a marvellous competition to win an original illustration by one of my favourite illustrators, Katie Cleminson, in return for guessing how many books I had in my home at that time.

I love what Book Aid do because they know that books change lives. Every year they send around half a million brand new books to Africa, reaching thousands of readers in towns, villages, prisons, refugee camps, schools, hospitals and universities across sub-Saharan Africa.

Maybe you could use this year’s World Book Day to also support what Book Aid does? Here are some great ideas to get you going!

But whatever you do, don’t forget to leave a comment on this post to be in with a chance of winning my final giveaway. Yes, I have one copy of There’s a Dinosaur in my Bathtub by Catalina Echeverri to send to a reader…

Giveaway details

The giveaway is open to residents in UK/Eire only. To enter, simply leave a comment on this blog post.

For extra entries you can:

    (1) Tweet about this giveaway, perhaps using this text:
    Win a copy of the hilarious There’s A Dinosaur in my Bathtub by @cataverri over on @playbythebook’s blog http://www.playingbythebook.net/?p=28960
    (2) Share this giveaway on your Facebook page or blog


You must leave a separate comment for each entry for them to count.

  • The winner will be chosen at random using random.org.
  • The giveaway is open for just over one week, and closes on World Book Day itself, Thursday 6th March 2014 5pm UK time. I will contact the winner via email. If I do not hear back from the winner within one week of emailing them, I will re-draw a winner.
  • Good luck!

    Disclosure: My thanks go to the publishers, Bloomsbury, for donating the book for this giveaway, and for sending me a review copy. I was approached by Book Aid to spread the word about the charity and I am very happy to do so. I received no payment for this post.

    3 Comments on What have you got hiding in your bathtub?, last added: 2/28/2014
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    7. Dinosaurs from Outer Space!

    Ankylosaur from Museum of Ancient Life, Utah
    Or something like that.  Last week, the Washington Post reported the finding of a dinosaur footprint on the land of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland.  The track is believed to belong to an armored dinosaur called a nodosaur, a relative of the more famous Ankylosaurus.  The footprint is about fourteen inches long and hails from around 112 million years ago (Early Cretaceous).  That's roughly the same time as the Glen Rose dinosaur tracks, just north of Waco (they're the ones I based the footprints in CHRONAL ENGINE on).

    Goddard Space Flight Center, NASA's first space center, was established in 1959.  They employ around 10,000 engineers and scientists and other personnel, and are responsible for a variety of earth and outer space explorer satellites, going back to the 1950s with the Project Vanguard.

    All the equipment, and look they found in their own back yard. :-).


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    8. Artist Station Postcard


    Whenever an artist designs a U. S. commemorative postage stamp, they have a unique opportunity to work with the U.S. Postal Service and their local post office to design a special cancellation called an "Artist Station" cancellation.

    The design can be used only on one day and in one place, the hometown of the artist. When I designed the World of Dinosaurs stamps, they asked me if I wanted to do an Artist Station cancellation. Here is the hand-lettered and drawn pen and ink art that I created. The Postal Service scanned the art and made a rubber stamp out of it.


    Here's how the actual cancellation looked on one of the stamps. The designers make a few slight changes, making the "W" smaller and moving the date to the top of the circle.


    And here's a one-of-a-kind postcard with a scene from Dinotopia: The World Beneath.

    I would like to give this special signed gift to a lucky blog reader from anywhere in the world.

    Here's what you have to do to win it. Just be the first person to leave a comment on this blog post after 5:00 PM New York time today (Wednesday). The winner will be the one who leaves the first comment to be posted after 5:00 Eastern time (or 17:00 on the 24 hour clock). My computer is logged to Apple time. You may comment more than once.

    ADDENDUM: Daniel of Florida was the winner. Congratulations, Daniel, and thanks everybody for entering.
    ---More about World of Dinosaurs


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    9. Appropos of nothing

    So....who watched Saturday's new Doctor Who episode? I did. And I immediately thought of every one's favorite Time Lord when this arrived in Monday's new book order: You can't go wrong with dinosaurs in a public library. Dinosaur books come second only to Captain Underpants replacement copies in my book order hierarchy. I personally am not big on dinosaurs. But I have a few favorites. In no

    2 Comments on Appropos of nothing, last added: 9/13/2012
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    10. Sidewalk Saurian

    Today's Awesomeness Award goes to Rebecca Pletsch, who did this 12x16-foot chalk drawing based on a Dinotopia dinosaur for a street festival called "Chalk the Block" in Provo, Utah. 

    All the proceeds from the festival went to benefit a charitable organization for children with autism.
    ------
    If you live near Connecticut, don't miss my lecture and book signing at the Lyman Allyn Art Museum in New London. They're hosting the exhibition Dinotopia: Art, Science, and Imagination through February 2.

    Rebecca Pletsch
    The dinosaur appears in Dinotopia: The World Beneath
    Chalk the Block Facebook page
    Article in the Daily Herald

    2 Comments on Sidewalk Saurian, last added: 10/11/2012
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    11. Art Wall: Cubist Thing, them Mighty Morphin’ kids and Batman- lots of Batman

    TweetHello and welcome! We are starting a weekly art thingy and have -rather thoughtfully- set it for Friday, that interminable day where the weekend is within touching distance and yet you still have to be at work. Hence, pretty and cool stuff that will help tide you over- forget words, just feast your eyes. This [...]

    1 Comments on Art Wall: Cubist Thing, them Mighty Morphin’ kids and Batman- lots of Batman, last added: 2/10/2013
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    12. Are the Dinosaurs Dead, Dad? and Other Prehistoric Picture Books

    In Are the Dinosaurs Dead, Dad? young Dave's uneventful trip to the museum takes an unlikely and entertaining twist. From the book's inside flap:

    Dad takes Dave to the museum to see the dinosaurs. Dad is sure he knows all there is to know about these amazing creatures. But soon Dave gets the feeling that Dad has one hugely important fact very, very wrong.

    Because, you see, as Dad and Davey pass each dino, the dino seems to come to life!

    This is one of those terrific books that relies upon dramatic irony via the illustrations, because Julie Middleton's text doesn't let on to what's happening. Young readers, however, can certainly see for themselves that toes, tails, and terrible jaws are moving! During a read-aloud, a "knowing" adult will wisely avoid  being in on the joke, as children love to scream and point out the "secrets" that adults (because of their advanced age and failing eyesight) apparently don't notice for themselves.

    Artist Russell Ayto's whimsical images are half the fun, showing us giant-headed monsters balanced on impossibly tiny legs. The creatures' equally understated, overstated, and improbably body part dimensions are fun to discuss as well. The format is large, with plenty of open space on each spreads that lends credibility to the size of the space and the dinosaurs themselves.

    And this fantastic book can be yours! Peachtree Publishers is offering a giveaway copy of Are the Dinosaurs Dead, Dad? to one lucky winner. 

    Simply email me at keithschoch at gmail dot com (using standard email format) with the phrase Dinosaurs Live! and you're entered! That's it. No need to jump through any more hoops! Following the blog (to the left) would be appreciated (and you would be in some really good company), but is by no means necessary. 

    Contest is open to US only, and ends Friday, March 1st, 11:59 PM EST.

    Below you'll find some terrific companion books with activity extensions that could work equally well with Are the Dinosaurs Dead, Dad? In addition to being mistaken about dinos, some adults are also mistaken in thinking you can ever have enough dinosaur books!

    Cretaceous Companions
    For the younger set, Harry and the Dinosaurs Go to School by Ian Whybrow is a wonderful combination of a dino book and a first-day-of-school-jitters book. Harry's toy dinos help him makes new friends, and even assist another shy boy in acclimating to his new surroundings. Adrian Reynolds' bright and sunny illustrations are perfect for sharing and discussing during read-alouds. Check out other titles in this series including Harry and the Dinosaurs Say, "Raahh!" and Harry and the Bucketful of Dinosaurs.

    Extensions:
    • Students can bring in one of their own "prized possessions" and discuss what makes it special. 
    • Students might want to create their own simple paper plate dinosaurs, which can be displayed with a colorful bucket on the bulletin board. 
    • Students could imagine that they have a real, live dinosaur for a pet. How would that work? How would you feed him? Where would he sleep?
    • Looking for a fun and easy cooking project? Check out these fossil cookies.

    Marvelous, Monstrous Models
    The Dinosaurs of Waterhouse Hawkins by Barbara Kerley with illustrations by Brian Selznick ("many of which are based on the original sketches of Mr. Hawkins"). Working with scientist Richard Owens, Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins wanted to create such perfect models of dinosaurs that anyone who gazed at his creations would see into the past. By using just the bits and pieces of fossils, bones, and teeth that had been found by early palaeontologists, Waterhouse filled in "gaps" by thinking of existing animals which the dinosaurs might have resembled. This book chronicles his triumphal premiere in the Crystal Palace at Sydenham Park (when tens of thousands of spectators, including the Queen, gaped in wonder at his creatures), as well as his tragedy in Central Park (when vandals under the vindictive order of Boss Tweed destroyed his dinosaurs destined for the Americans). Although we now realize that many of Waterhouse's guesses were somewhat inaccurate, no one can dispute his ability to light the imaginations of the thousands who viewed his works.

    For more explorations into what we've learned about dinosaurs since the earliest days of their discovery, check out Boy, Were We Wrong About Dinosaurs by Kathleen Kudlinksi and S.D.Schindler.A terrific book for helping students understand that science never rests!

    Extensions:
    • Students can use clay to design their own dinosaurs. They don't need to sculpt one specific, real-life dino; instead, they should simply use their imaginations to create an original prehistoric monster. Since scientist continue to discover new dinosaurs all the time, who's to say what the next dino discovery might look like?
    • Students might also enjoy building their own prehistoric pasta pets. Show students pictures of assembled dino skeletons in museums. Explain that while these models take many years to collect, piece together, and display, today students will create their own models using pasta as bones. Given a wide variety of different pasta shapes, students can assemble their own dinos by gluing their selected noodles to black construction paper. Once partially dry, the pasta will need a second coat to affix it well to the paper. 
    • For a look at how those dinosaurs get to the museum, check out the book (coincidentally called) How the Dinosaur Got to the Museum by Jessie Hartland. This book explains how dinosaur bones go from the earth to you, the museum visitor, via fourteen other people, who are named and collected in a House-that-Jack-Built type progression.
    Bold and Beautiful
    A wonderful abecedarium can be discovered in An Alphabet of Dinosaurs by Peter Dodson, with paintings by Wayne D. Barlowe. Familiar favorites mix with newcomer neighbors on full spreads that features two text sections (one for emerging readers and another for fluent readers) and a full color illustration. The vivid and uniquely imagined colors and patterns of these dinos is what caught my eye when I first viewed this book. In the books' introduction we read: "The paintings in this book show the dinosaurs as we now think of them. Gone is the image of slow-moving giants. Gone is the picture of tail-dragging lizards. Instead, we see vibrant, active dinosaurs living in a world filled with brightly colored animals and plants.

    Extensions: 
    • Taking a cue from this book, students can create their own unique dino patterns on simple coloring sheets. They can either color with vivid colors (danger! stay back!, bold colors (look at me!), muted colors (I need to hide), or patterns which create camouflage (to avoid being seen by prey or predator).
    • Older students can be given a simple white dino silhouette (shape) and a variety of a magazine from which to choose pictures. After choosing a large picture which can serve as a background, students will color in their dino shape to camouflage into the background.
    Dino for a Day
    In Jim Murphy's Dinosaur for a Day, older readers can explore a typical day in the life of a Hypsilophodon, a 90 pound herd animal that depended upon its wits and its companions for survival. Additional information from the author precedes and follows this din's "biography," providing for a complete profile of one specific creature. Mark Alan Weatherby's gorgeous paintings put us at dinosaur's-eye view with our surroundings, a perspective rarely seen in other dino books.

    Extensions:
    • Have each student choose a dinosaur, and write about "a day in the life of..." Students may need to do some research on which dinosaurs lived in which period, and many students may discover that their dinos and their friends' dinos might have shared the same habitats!
    • Instead of a dinosaur, have students choose any other animal (or use an animal they've already researched). Require that students illustrate their "daily routine" with view that would be seen from their critter's perspective.
    • Create dino fossils in the classroom.
    Modern Monsters
    What if dinosaurs were alive today? How would our daily lives be different? In If Dinosaurs Were Alive Today, author Dougal Dixon answers that question with frightening predictions of predatory sea creatures that hunt sperm whales, and tyrannosaurs that terrorize longhorns. The photo-realistic illustrations are amazing as they juxtapose the prehistoric past with the present.
    Can you picture yourself flying in a jet across peaceful skies, and suddenly seeing a Quetzalcoatlus, a pterosaur with the wingspan exceeding a small airplane? Can you imagine seeing your trashcan tipped over at the curb, not by a raccoon or even a coyote, but a scavenging carnivorous dino called Coelophysis? Students will love the retouched photos, so disturbingly realistic that one might begin to wonder, "What are the chances of the dinosaurs coming back?"

    Extensions:
    • Challenge students to draw dinosaurs in modern day settings. How would their traits and habits affect their interactions with people?
    • Challenge students to put dinos to work. If they existed today, how could their size and strength be helpful to humans?
    Wordless Wonders
    Two clever books that tell neat dino tales are Time Flies by Eric Rohmann and Chalk by Bill Thomson.

    Extensions:
    • The wordless format of both books offers the perfect opportunity for students to tell their own stories. Students can "write" similar books as a group, and tell their own stories.
    • Students might also be challenged to write the tales they "see" using poetry rather than prose.
    How Do Dinosaurs...
    From Jane Yolen and Mark Teague come the fantastic series of How Do Dinosaurs... books including How Do Dinosaurs Get Well Soon? and How Do Dinosaurs Say Good Night? Kids will love all the dinos that Mark Teague includes, and they'll also appreciate the funny and fun-to-recite rhymes of Jane Yolen.

    Extension:
    • Brainstorm a How to... problem with the class and write a similar story as a group, or challenge pairs or teams to come up with their own ideas (focusing on social skills seems to work well here).

    Don't forget to enter to win!



    1 Comments on Are the Dinosaurs Dead, Dad? and Other Prehistoric Picture Books, last added: 2/22/2013
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    13. Project Daspletosaurus Update

    Project Daspletosaurus has reached its pledge goal! 

    You can still pledge, though, and also buy some of the cool stuff offered by David Orr (Anatotitan) on his Redbubble site

    Here's Dr. Hone's latest update post!

    Above is a special DINO A DAY T-shirt featuring one of David Orr's project logo design.

    0 Comments on Project Daspletosaurus Update as of 3/23/2013 7:06:00 PM
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    14. Fusenews: This is what a librarian looks like

    NYPLalternative 300x225 Fusenews: This is what a librarian looks likeOh me, oh my, where does the time go?  Here we are, it’s Monday yet again, and I’m running about like a chicken with my head cut off.  This Friday I head off to Barcelona for a full week (weep for me), then back I come to promote my picture book (Giant Dance Party, or haven’t I mentioned it before?), but not before I’ve finished the promotional videos and my very first website.  *pant pant pant*

    With that in mind, let’s get through these mighty quick.  Not that they don’t all deserve time and attention.  And tender loving care.  Mwah!  Big kisses all around!  And yes, I did consider doing an April Fool’s post today but thought better of it.  If you’d like to see some of the greatest April Fool’s posts of the children’s literary world, however, please be so good as to head over to Collecting Children’s Books and read the ones that Peter Sieruta came up with. There was 2012′s post (“Selznick syndrome” is just shy of brilliant),  2011′s Charlie Sheen Lands Children’s Book Deal (still feels real), 2009′s Graveyard Book to Be Stripped of Newbery, and his 2008 Ramona piece de resistance.  This is the first year he won’t have one up.  Miss you, Peter.

    • So I had a crazy idea for a Children’s Literary Salon panel at NYPL.  Heck, I didn’t even know if anyone would show up, but I invited four different children’s librarians from four very different alternative children’s libraries.  Don’t know what an alternative children’s library is?  Then read this SLJ write-up NYPL Panelists Explore Alternatives to Traditional Librarianship.  The happy ending is that lots of people attended and the conversation was scintillating.  And timely.  A nice combination.
    • Another good combination?  Me and my husband.  And it seems the resident husband recently wrote a blog piece that could be of use to you writer types out there.  How To Write Every Day, Conclusion: Is Your Goal to Keep Writing or Stop Writing? should give you enough fodder to chew on for the next year or so.  Then I’ll tell you about another one of his posts.  Trust me when I say they’re all this good.
    • Did your stomach lurch a little when you found out that Amazon bought Goodreads?  Well, how much should you care?  Dan Blank has some answers.  In Short: Don’t you worry ’bout nothing (he says it nicer than that).
    • A contact recently mentioned that they would like to give a little attention to the children’s book art auction at Book Expo, a yearly event that actually isn’t particularly well known.  Said they (take note!):

    The American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression is an organization that fights book censorship. We mostly work with booksellers, however, in Our Kids Right To Read Project, we advocate for kids when people try to ban books in libraries or classrooms.  Our position is that parents have the right to decide what their own children read but they do not have the right to decide for others.  Proceeds from the auction will go to our programming. Our website is www.abffe.org and for the auction we have set up a separate page where people can buy tickets and artists can donate art. It is: http://abffesilentauction.wordpress.com/.

    • More me stuff.  Over at Tor.com I answer the great ponderable facing the world of children’s literature today: Why are dinosaurs so darn popular?  The answer may surprise you.  Okay . . . that’s a lie.  You know why.  But at the very least I’m able to draw some conclusions you may not have necessarily come up with before.  It all comes down to Freud, baby.
    • I’ve a friend who passes along Common Core oddities she picks up on in the news.  This week it was a tough call.  Which was better?  The article that said, “Alabama cannot retain its education sovereignty under Common Core” or Glenn Beck’s even nuttier-than-usual screed against CCS saying that they’ll result in 1984-type changes to the educational system?  Honestly, do we even have to choose?

    Saenz Fusenews: This is what a librarian looks likeOn the flipside, how cool is this?  The Eric Carle Museum has a simply lovely exhibit up right now called Latino Folk Tales: Cuentos Populares-Art by Latino Artists.  As if you needed an excuse to visit. But just in case you did . . .

    I haven’t gotten much from Cynopsis Kids lately for the old blog, but there was this little tidbit I almost missed the other day: “Montreal-based Sardine Productions will develop a children’s television show based on The Mammoth Academy, a book series by British author and illustrator Neal Layton, with TVOKids, a division of Ontario’s public educational media organization TVO.”

    Meanwhile, from PW Children’s Bookshelf, this little nugget of very cool news: “Anne Hoppe at Clarion Books has acquired North American rights to a nonfiction picture book by Katherine Applegate about Ivan the gorilla, the subject of her Newbery Medal-winning The One and Only Ivan. Elena Mechlin at Pippin Properties represented Applegate. In a separate deal, Mechlin sold North American rights to two middle-grade novels by Applegate, to Jean Feiwel and Liz Szabla at Feiwel and Friends.”  Well that’s 12 kinds of brilliant.  And how clever of Hoppe to get Applegate for Clarion.  She’ll do well there.  Nonfiction always does.

    I don’t know about you but I was thrilled to see The New York Times write a piece on Rachel Renee Russell.  When we talk about bestselling children’s books it seems odd to me that no one ever points out that the top series in children’s literature (rather than YA) right now that is written by a woman is also written by an African-American woman.  Now I just want to know who the famous author was that discouraged her from writing when she was in college!

    Daily Image:

    Flavorwire always has such good ideas.  Example: 20 Bookish Murals From Around the World.  A taste:

    Mural1 Fusenews: This is what a librarian looks like

     

    Mural2 Fusenews: This is what a librarian looks like

    Thanks to AL Direct for the link.

    printfriendly Fusenews: This is what a librarian looks likeemail Fusenews: This is what a librarian looks liketwitter Fusenews: This is what a librarian looks likefacebook Fusenews: This is what a librarian looks likegoogle plus Fusenews: This is what a librarian looks liketumblr Fusenews: This is what a librarian looks likeshare save 171 16 Fusenews: This is what a librarian looks like

    3 Comments on Fusenews: This is what a librarian looks like, last added: 4/3/2013
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    15. INTERVIEW: Stephen Mooney Goes Creator-Owned for ‘Half Past Danger’

    Later this year IDW will be publishing Half Past Danger, a new series written, drawn, and created by Stephen Mooney. After working as artist on several IDW titles including Star Trek and Angel for the last few years, Mooney decided it was time to set up a creator-owned project, which he’d have full control over. In order to do so, he had to set aside a year in which he scripted, designed, pencilled, inked, coloured and lettered the project – six months in which he wasn’t earning money from any other gigs. It was quite the risk, taking himself out of the comics scene for a year in order to focus on a comic he had no idea would ever see the light of day.

    However! The good news is that IDW decided to pick up the book, starting with issue #1 this May – preorderable now! I spoke to Stephen about making the leap into creator-owned work, the inspiration for Half Past Danger, and how the experience has been.

    hpd1 INTERVIEW: Stephen Mooney Goes Creator Owned for Half Past Danger

     

    Steve: Half Past Danger is dedicated to your father, “who took me to the movies”. What kind of films would you go see? Were there any in particular which served as inspiration for Half Past Danger?

    Stephen: Oh wow, yeah. Loads! The first film I can remember my dad taking my brothers and I to see was E.T. in the Savoy cinema in Dublin in 1982, when I was five years old. Still my favourite cinema to this day. I can remember it like it was yesterday; its one of my first real memories. The whole experience made such a huge indelible dent on my psyche, in so many ways. The bustling anticipatory atmosphere of the jam-packed theatre, the crowd reactions as the movie ebbed and lowed. I was absolutely hooked. It also started my love affair with Spielberg’s eighties ouevre. Films that followed included The Return of The Jedi, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, The Goonies, Back To The Future, Big Trouble In Little China, Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade, and many, many more.

    The most obvious influences on Half Past Danger filmically-speaking are undoubtedly the first three Indiana Jones movies. They really colour and inform my entire storytelling style. That bang-zip-wallop rapid-fire action beats-ridden kind of a narrative, with a few gags interspersed. Half Past Danger aspires to be that style of tale. Strong influences also would be the very early Connery Bond films, and pulpy matinee-style fare like The Treasure of the Sierra Madre. Then of course you have the classic Harryhausen dino movies. Great stuff, all.

    Steve: How did the story of Half Past Danger start to come together? When did you first have the idea for it?

    Stephen: The idea has been in my mind in some shape or form for years now, in that I’ve always known that if and when I ever attempted a story of my own that it would be 100% mired in that kind of pulpy action-adventure style, simply because that’s the genre I feel most comfortable in, and know so well. I always knew also that I’d want the main character to be an Irishman, since that’s the one thing I’ve been all my life, and nobody could tell the story of that particular character better than me, to my mind. I guess somewhat inevitably I injected much of my own personality and traits into a somewhat idealised version of myself, and placed him squarely into this scenario I’d begun to dream up. Hell, the guy even looks like me. If that’s not vanity wit large, I dunno what is.

    The story came together over the last couple of years, I knew the high concept from the start, Nazis versus dinosaurs, but I wanted to really take my time and write something that hadn’t specifically been seen before, since as everybody knows, a lot of these themes have been done before on many occasions. The real trick is to give readers something they haven’t experienced as of yet, and I didn’t want to press too far ahead until I was sure I’d come up with a new spin on what in some ways could be seen as an old tale.

    Once I figured out the main wheres, whys and whats, the rest came fairly rapidly.

    Steve: This is your first creator-owned work – how did you decide that Half Past Danger was the right project to get off the ground?

    Stephen: Well, it’s the only project that I’ve ever completely fleshed out, to be honest. I had this one idea that I thought was really strong, and it was bang in the middle of my wheelhouse, or more specifically what I wanted my wheelhouse to be, so I ran with it. To be honest I didn’t question it too much. Do I have other ideas? Yeah, but they all revolve around this universe! I guess I just had a single, enormous itch I needed to scratch for the time being, and I’ll see where I go from there.

    hpd2 INTERVIEW: Stephen Mooney Goes Creator Owned for Half Past Danger

    Steve: You’ve said that you took six months off to focus on this project, writing, drawing, inking, colouring, lettering…. Where did you start with the project?

    Stephen: With the writing. I didn’t put pencil to paper drawing-wise until the full series was totally written and put to bed. Then pencilling, inking, coloring, lettering, in that order. Then back to the start again for issue 2 and go again; rinse and repeat.

    Steve: Did you work issue-by issue on the story, or plot out an entirety and then start filling it in? How did you approach the story once you had the concept locked down, in essence.

    Stephen: I worked out the entire plot first. I’d be terrified to embark on a story without knowing how it was going to end. To be honest, I’d probably never GET to the end in that scenario, I’d just circle the drain narratively until I eventually flushed the project. In order to commit myself to this massive body of work, I had to make sure everything was utterly and clearly signposted. Otherwise I wouldn’t be able to visualize my goal, and I’d be second-guessing myself all the while. Because the writing was the only element that I’d never approached before, I wanted to give it all of the respect it deserved, and to take the time to get it done right. Or, at least as right as I could get it!

    Steve: How long has each issue taken you to complete? Did you find yourself surprised by how difficult certain aspects of the process were?

    Stephen: Man, too long! The writing took about 2 months all-in, including research. That was fine. It was when I got stuck into the art side of things that I began to get bogged down a little. One of my dreams for the book was to do absolutely everything myself; complete creator control. That proved to be somewhat of a pipe dream in a way, though. The first issue of the book took me four months to pencil, ink, colour and letter. That was just unsustainable, the book would take another two years at that rate, and I was already six months in. Hence the addition of Jordie Bellaire as series colorist from issue 2 onward.

    Something had to give, and of all of the aspects visually, I was spending the most time on the colours, which was crazy. Jordie is a very close friend, and when she saw me floundering she offered to dive in and help me out. She’s an amazing colorist, and a big fan of a lot of the same source material as I am, so it was a pretty seamless transition really. It also doesn’t hurt that Jordie’s a phenomenally talented colorist, in constant demand at all the biggest companies. I’m certainly beyond delighted that she chose to climb aboard.

    With Jordie alongside, I’ve been spending two months a piece on the subsequent issues, almost all of that time spent drawing and inking the 26-odd pages per issue, then a couple of days of lettering at the end.

    hpd3 INTERVIEW: Stephen Mooney Goes Creator Owned for Half Past Danger

    Steve: I was really struck with a blog post you wrote about the role of writing and art in comics - http://www.halfpastdanger.com/2011/10/writing-vs-art-this-time-its-personal.html . Now you’re further into the story, how have you found the balance between writing an issue and drawing it?

    Stephen: It’s very hard for me to separate the two, if I’m being honest. In this instance, it’s all just the story. When I was writing it, I knew exactly how every beat and scene would look on the page (or at least how I’d like it to look), and now that I’m drawing it, I almost know off by heart the entire story and script, so it all just flows onto the page. Again, it’s all just utmost inseparable elements of the story, for me. The script is more a broad outline with fairly tight dialogue than anything. Stage directions.

    Steve: I’ve read the first issue of the series, and really enjoyed the central character, Tommy Flynn. Did you find the design process easier for a character you created, and would be writing yourself? Has it been easy translating your ideas to the page, rather than interpreting an established work, as you’ve done before for IDW?

    Stephen: Yeah, I think it has. I wouldn’t say easy, but I certainly haven’t had to wrestle it into submission or anything like that. Probably because the main character is a bit of a cypher, in that he acts and reacts pretty much the way I would assuming I were a lot braver and a tad more selfless. Working with the established characters, like say Angel or Spike wasn’t that difficult either though, in terms of working what was written on the page, because I had such bloody good writers whom I trusted implicitly. I’ve been very lucky that way. I’ve never had trouble portraying any given character on the page, the acting and character beats are one of the very few aspects of the drawing that come totally naturally to me.

    Steve: With more control over the final product, have you noticed yourself experimenting more with pacing and panel layout?

    Stephen: Oh god, yeah. WAY more. I’m very respectful of a given writer’s script when I get it on a work-for-hire job, I’m loathe to mess with what they’ve asked for in their direction. They spent time working that stuff out, so I stick pretty religiously to it when at all possible, even when I might disagree on the shots called for. Or maybe there might be a crazy talking order or something going on that just isn’t feasible without the addition of an extra panel or the use of a slightly different angle. Perhaps I should go more with my own gut, I don’t know. Usually I just want to make the writer happy. If there’s leeway there, I’ll certainly take it. This kind of touches on that article on the Half Past Danger process blog that you mentioned in one of the earlier questions.

    On my own book, I’m much freer to go with my initial instincts, storytelling-wise. It’s one of the most satisfying elements of the whole venture, and one of the reasons I actually wanted to attempt it. I think one of the reasons that people seem to be responding to how ‘cinematic’ the storytelling is, is because that’s my natural modus operandi, and my default setting.

    Steve: How has the experience of working on a creator-owned project been for you?

    Stephen: Absolutely wonderful, so far. Dizzying highs, terrifying lows, creamy centres. It’s as hard as I’ve ever worked, and in even more of a vacuum than before. It’s incredibly scary and daunting, because at the end of the day, for better or for worse, it’s all me on the page; nobody to hide behind. But at the same time, that’s pretty much the most incredible aspect. Where else can a sole creator be responsible for almost every aspect of production? Film? Animation? It just doesn’t happen, and that’s one of the reasons I love comic books so much.

    Steve: Do you see yourself doing more creator-owned work in future, or are you looking to alternate with some more work-for-hire projects?

    Stephen: In a perfect world, I’d love to do further HPD series every year or two in the Hellboy model, with the odd work-for-hire gig interspersed between. But obviously, that all depends on how the first series is received. I’ll certainly stick around for as long as Chris Ryall and the amazing guys at IDW will have me, I genuinely don’t think that there’s a better home for Half Past Danger.

    hpd4 INTERVIEW: Stephen Mooney Goes Creator Owned for Half Past Danger

    Steve: Jordie Bellaire will be coming on as colourist as of issue 2, as you’ve mentioned, whilst I believe Declan Shalvey will be drawing a backup strip for each issue. There seems to be quite a growing community of comics creators in Ireland recently. How important is it to have that sense of a creative community? Is it helpful to have people to bounce these ideas off?

    Stephen: Oh, it’s invaluable. it really is. Having guys (and gals!) like Dec, Jordie and also Nick Roche, Will Sliney, Stephen Thompson and all the other Irish pros to bounce stuff off and get opinions from is simple indispensable. We’re a very close network. Almost collaborators in a way. I couldn’t do this without their help, I mean that. Otherwise I’d just be floating along in a nebulous void of gibberish. And I wouldn’t even know if it was good gibberish. So yeah, absolutely essential.

    Steve: What advice would you give to anybody looking to create their own comics?

    Stephen: Get off the pot and do it. Let go of the doubts and the maybes, and just make it happen. Everybody is afraid; everybody wonders if they’re actually good enough. I know I do. The only way to find out is to light that touch-paper, and have at it.

    At the end of the day, even if Half Past Danger doesn’t hit that sweet spot critically or commercially, I’ll still have the satisfaction of knowing I tried.

    I did my best. Otherwise, as dramatic as it sounds, I’d go all the way to the grave wondering what might have been.

     

    Many thanks to Stephen for his time! If you’d like to find out more, you can read all about the process on his blog, which has been constantly updating with information and thoughts on the creation process for the last few months. You can find his pencilling, inking, colouring, bits of script, all sorts of things on there – I really recommend you have a look. You can also find him on the twitters! Half Past Danger #1 is out in May.

    0 Comments on INTERVIEW: Stephen Mooney Goes Creator-Owned for ‘Half Past Danger’ as of 4/2/2013 4:01:00 PM
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    16. Storytime: National Library Week

    Bats at the Library by Brian Lies Another inky evening’s here- The air is cool and calm and clear. Can it be true? Oh, can it be? Yes! Bat Night at the library! Join the free-for-all fun at the public library with these book-loving bats! Shape shadows on walls, frolic in the water fountain, and …

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    17. Dinosaur Kisses by David Ezra Stein

    <!-- START INTERCHANGE - DINOSAUR KISSES -->if(!window.igic__){window.igic__={};var d=document;var s=d.createElement("script");s.src="http://iangilman.com/interchange/js/widget.js";d.body.appendChild(s);} <!-- END INTERCHANGE --> David Ezra Stein, author of the Caldecott award winning, story-time-home-run Interrupting Chicken and the charming Because Amelia Smiled is back with Dinosaur

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    18. World of Dinosaurs Stamps: Behind the Scenes


    When I was asked to design the World of Dinosaurs stamp issue (1996), I painted two panoramic settings for the individual stamp subjects. The top one was Jurassic and the other was Cretaceous. I keyed the colors differently to separate them.

    I developed the design in a charcoal comprehensive drawing that I showed to the various paleontological consultants for their input and approval.

    It was vitally important that the dinosaurs, insects, and plants in each panorama were all known from the same geologic formations and so would have lived together in the same time and place. 

    Having worked out the plan in charcoal (bottom), I felt a lot more confident when I went to the final oil painting (top). In most natural science illustration, it's essential to present the art in a comprehensive, intermediate step that is sent out for approval by the scientists.

    This was probably the only final stamp artwork that was ever worked on en plein air. I had to go outside in the forest to paint the ferns, because I discovered that cut ferns wilt too fast. The painting was less than 24 inches wide and painted on flexible Bristol board so that it could fit on the drum scanners of the time.
    ------
    For for a detailed, behind-the-scenes look at how I do paleoart, check out my new DVD "How I Paint Dinosaurs" from Kunaki.com.
    Digital download (HD 720p) at Gumroad (credit card) or Sellfy (Paypal). buy
    “How I Paint Dinosaurs is a fascinating, detailed look into the making of the masterful dinosaur creations of James Gurney. I loved following his creative process, from the initial ideas, through the scientifically informed and accurate paleo-reconstructions, to the final stunning artwork. I found this video to be extremely informative and creative, and I have to say that I was completely inspired to draw dinosaurs!” 

    —Mick Ellison, paleoartist, American Museum of Natural History 

    15 Comments on World of Dinosaurs Stamps: Behind the Scenes, last added: 9/15/2013
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    19. Nonfiction Monday is here! Featuring DK Pocket Genius

    Welcome, everyone!  I'm happy to be today's host for Nonfiction Monday,
    a weekly gathering of bloggers writing about nonfiction books for kids. 

    DK Publishing. 2012. Pocket Genius series. New York: Dorling Kindersley.

    I've always loved camping, hiking, plants and the outdoors, but was never much of a bird watcher.  My husband, however, is a bird lover and can tell the difference between similar waterfowl or shore birds at a great distance.  The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Birds has been a fixture in our house for ages.  After the addition of curious kids, we added the Field Guide to Seashore Creatures, North American Trees, and North American Insects & Spiders.  There's something very satisfying about these little books - a modern, non-lethal form of hunting perhaps.  I love that "Aha, I've found it!" moment when I discover the unknown bird in the yard or the little critter crawling on the windowsill.  So, it was with pleasure that I received the set of DK Pocket Genius guides for my branch.
     
    Now granted, kids won't be able to spot a shark or dinosaur in the neighborhood and rush home to identify it, but the books are designed in much the same manner as adult field guides and will teach the same classification skills.  For example, Sharks begins with an overview of sharks, their common attributes, habitats and features.  The guide is then divided into two sections: Sharks and Rays, skates, and chimaeras.  Sections are then subdivided into types (e.g. Frilled and cow sharks) and then into the neat little photographic plates with which any fan of field guides is familiar.

    Differing from adult guides, the informative text is presented in the same box as the photograph (no flipping to tissue paper thin pages in the rear).  Similar to adult guides, icons appear in each box.  These icons, however, are much more fun than a silhouette of a tree-clinging bird or coniferous tree!  The shark icon depicts a swimmer with a proportionally sized shark swimming above.  The Rocks and Minerals guide shows a hand next to the average size of a found specimen.  Animals and Dinosaurs icons compare a human body to the featured creature.

    Each book also contains fun facts, an index and a glossary. And while they don't have the flexible, te

    8 Comments on Nonfiction Monday is here! Featuring DK Pocket Genius, last added: 6/11/2012
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    20. Dinosoaring by Deb Lund with illustrations by Howard Fine

    Author Deb Lund and artist Howard Fine's Dino-Series builds on itself, so I really need to start at the beginning of the adventure before I discuss the newest book, Dinosoaring. When my kids were first graders, they each got to take the "Transportation Field Trip" where they took a school bus into the city then rode the trolley, the ferry and a few other things. The books in the 

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    21. Dinosaurs

    dusty dinosaurs

    dusty dinosaurs

    I just can't seem to get this dust out of my scanner. It's INFURIATING. At least now it's mostly just fluffy bits, and less crumbly bits.

    I love my dinosaurs, anyway.

    3 Comments on Dinosaurs, last added: 6/25/2012
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    22. Edison and the Dinosaur Zoo by N.R. Mackie

    Author Showcase

    Edison and the Dinosaur Zoo

    By N.R. Mackie 

    Reading Levels: 9+

    Paperback: 235 pages

    Edison and the Dinosaur Zoo is the debut novel by award winning animation director Nick Mackie.

    Schoolboy Edison Hope’s greatest wish has just come true—he has been given a dream job at the worlds only Dinosaur Zoo! However a violent robbery at the zoo sets in motion a series of events that puts Edison’s teenage life in danger.

    When a mysterious stranger starts to stalk him after a serious accident Edison has to make some life changing decisions. How far will he go to protect his family, his job and the zoo?

    It’s not the dinosaurs that Edison needs to be wary of—it’s the people!
    A coming of age story, that builds to a dangerous and shocking conclusion.

    Edison and the Dinosaur Zoo is available as kindle and paperback from Amazon and the author site.

    About the Author: Nick Mackie is an award-winning animator, director and illustrator.

    As a creative he has worked for many years in the animation industry including many years at the Oscar winning Aardman Animations.

    Nick has won a BBC Talent and a Royal Television Society award for his animation work. His films have been screened around the globe in film festivals such as Annecy, Edinburgh, Portland, London and numerous others.

    He lives in the South West of England with his family.

    Presently he is writing the second book in the ‘Dinosaur Zoo’ series and working on a pre-school children’s television project.

    Author and Book Website: www.dinosaurzoo.co.uk

    The Author Showcase is a place for authors and illustrators to gain visibility for their works. This article was provided by the author. Learn more …

    Original article: Edison and the Dinosaur Zoo by N.R. Mackie

    ©2012 The Childrens Book Review. All Rights Reserved.

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    23. Utah Trip - Museums (3)

    We also spent a lovely afternoon at the fabulous Museum of Ancient Life at Thanksgiving Point -
    Apparently, it is the world's largest hand's-on, dinosaur exhibit in the world!

    Loads of gorgeously fabulous fossils -

    Lots of interactive aspects -


    And so so many bones! (isn't this a darling skull?)

    They have over 60 dynamic complete skeletons -


    (Dire wolf skull!)

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    24. Stomp, Dinosaur, Stomp!

    Read It. Move It. Share It. 
    Today's post is part of my ongoing collaboration with dance educator Maria Hanley from Maria's Movers. Each month I recommend a book for Maria to use in her creative movement classes, and then we both share out experiences with the book. This month we're exploring Stomp, Dinosaur, Stomp! by Margaret Mayo and Alex Ayliffe.


    Look at the Tyrannosaurus on that cover! A little scary, don't you think? But don't worry...once you open the book, he's not that scary anymore. In fact, he's pretty harmless, even in the presence of other dinosaurs. Mostly, this Tyrannosaurus just wants to stomp!

    Mighty Tyrranosaurus
    loved stomp, stomp, stomping, 
    gigantic legs striding, enormous jaws opening, 
    jagged teeth waiting for guzzle, guzzling!
    So stomp, Tyrannosaurus stomp!

    As the book continues, we meet an immense Diplodocus, a crested Pteranodon, a fierce Velociraptor, and seven other prehistoric creatures. Like the Tyrranosaurus, each of the creatures has a signature move -- the Diplodocus a swish, the Pteranodon a glide, the Velociraptor a hunt -- plus additional moves that would hopefully inspire young children to come up with some moves of their own.

    Although the Tyrranosaurus is mostly absent when we meet these other creatures, he does appear on the page devoted to a tough Ankylosaurus. The signature move of the Ankylosaurus is a whack, and poor Tyrannosaurus is the recipient of one of those whacks! He doesn't look like he minds, though, and this action adds a splash of humor to the already upbeat book. We then see the Tyrannosaurus one more time -- at the end of the book -- when, still stomping, he leads the whole pack of creatures in a dinosaur parade.

    Girls and boys -- especially those who love to move -- will appreciate the many movement words in the text. I bet they'll also enjoy the bright illustrations, which take up every corner of every page and, in doing so, exaggerate the exuberance that the text already portrays. Let's see if Maria agrees! You can check out her post here.

    2 Comments on Stomp, Dinosaur, Stomp!, last added: 7/25/2012
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    25. Me Want Pet! written by Tammi Sauer and illustrated by Bob Shea

        This is a very personal, special review for me. At the end of the best weekend of my life (see SCBWI LA Conference) as I sat in the lobby of a gorgeous hotel waiting for the morning traffic to clear out so I could start my two hour drive home, people came and went, sometimes sitting in the seats next to me. At one

    1 Comments on Me Want Pet! written by Tammi Sauer and illustrated by Bob Shea, last added: 8/19/2012
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