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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: Dinosaurs, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 135
1. Caveman, ABC Story, by Janee Trasler

A funny, one-word-at-a-time story, about cavemen, dinosaurs, and the alphabet.

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2. Finally some dinosaurs

Dinos are truly fascinating. Their fossils spark the imaginations of kids and kids-at-heart. It's no surprise that Jurassic Park 4 (Jurassic World) is on the way. Then when you combine the talents of three people that also happen to like dinosaurs a lot, you get something like this:

Volume Two of the Ask DG young reader series is available now in paperback and Kindle!

Written by Mark Miller from questions asked to Dinosaur George Blasing by real kids, this book is perfect for young paleo-enthusiasts. Kindergarten through Second Grade can easily read this on their own and gain new facts with a touch of humor.

The real gems in this book, however, are the illustrations. Artist Victor Donahue makes his debut publication with impressive, detailed and entertaining images. Dino-fans will love Victor's incredible full-color drawings!

Order today to receive your book in time for Christmas! 

Paperbacks are available from MillerWords.com (autographed by author and illustrator) or DinosaurGeorge.com (autographed by Dinosaur George). Or get the Kindle version HERE.

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3. Dinovember

Dinosaurs have invaded my library. We’ve turned this November into Dinovember. Dinovember is the month when the dinosaurs come out to play. It was started by two parents who decided to have some fun with their children’s dinosaur toys and a month of dinosaur antics was born. You can follow the dino adventures on the Dinovember Tumblr. The creators also recently released a book, What The Dinosaurs Did Last Night.

Inspired by these silly dinosaurs, my staff and I decided to have some fun. We transformed one of our giant workroom windows in a calendar. Each day we post a new picture of what the dinosaurs have been up to at the library. The kids (and the parents) are having lots of fun checking out the photos and have even been looking around the department to see if they can catch the dinosaurs in action. All the staff have pulled together to make Dinovember happen with taking pictures, sharing dinosaur toys, helping us come up with ideas, and letting us invade their departments with dinosaurs. It’s a very simple thing to put together and the response has been great. I love inspiring imagination in the kids and they are getting a kick out of all the silly things the dinosaurs come up with to do each day.

Here’s a peek of what our dinosaurs have been up to:

Photo Credit: Valerie Bogert

Photo Credit: Valerie Bogert

Photo Credit: Valerie Bogert

Photo Credit: Valerie Bogert

Photo Credit: Valerie Bogert

Photo Credit: Valerie Bogert

Photo Credit: Valerie Bogert

Photo Credit: Valerie Bogert

We’ve been having so much fun, I think we should make Dinovember a yearly treat. And I hope other libraries join us in the fun!


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4. Rex Wrecks It! by Ben Clanton

I almost didn't review Rex Wrecks It! by Ben Clanton. I reviewed Tyrannosaurus Wrecks by Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen, illustrated by Zachary Ohara in April of this year and the world play of "wrecks" and "rex" feels a little done. But . . . well . . . Clanton draws a mean monster, an adorable uni-rabbit and an endearing little robot. And then there are the building blocks. Clanton does amazing

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5. Children's Picture Book Review: The Adventures of Wally and Warren Series: Dinosaur Hunt

The Adventures of Wally and Warren Series: Dinosaur Hunt by Lise Chase

Wally and Warren explore the world of dinosaurs through rhyme and imagination. Learn about each unique dinosaur and their eating habits and physical details. From the herbivore to the omnivorous to big and small your young muses will learn about the stegosaurus to the tyrannosaurus and everything in between.

<!--[if gte mso 9]> Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE <![endif]-->
Author and illustrator, Lise Chase combines her knack for rhyme storytelling and intriguing illustrations for a perfect blend of an adventure like no other.
Visit author and illustrator, Lise Chase at https://www.facebook.com/lise.chase.9?fref=ts


Best wishes,
Donna M. McDine
Multi Award-winning Children's Author

Ignite curiosity in your child through reading!

Connect with
A Sandy Grave ~ January 2014 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc. ~ 2014 Purple Dragonfly 1st Place Picture Books 6+, Story Monster Approved, Beach Book Festival Honorable Mention 2014, Reader's Favorite Five Star Review

Powder Monkey ~ May 2013 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc. ~ Story Monster Approved and Reader's Favorite Five Star Review

Hockey Agony ~ January 2013 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc. ~ Story Monster Approved and Reader's Farvorite Five Star Review

The Golden Pathway ~ August 2010 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc.
~ Literary Classics Silver Award and Seal of Approval, Readers Favorite 2012 International Book Awards Honorable Mention and Dan Poynter's Global e-Book Awards Finalist

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6. Dinosaur Farm, by Frann Preston-Gannon | Book Giveaway

Enter to win a copy of Dinosaur Farm, by Frann Preston-Gannon. Giveaway begins September 6, 2014, at 12:01 A.M. PST and ends October 5, 2014, at 11:59 P.M. PST.

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7. 5th Blogiversary Celebration

Five years. That's right, I'm celebrating five years of my blog. Looking back at this year's posts, I see there aren't too many, but there's good reason for that. I'll get to that in a moment. There are lots of things to cover.

First, I want to say that Robin Williams made my day. Please don't take this the wrong way. I am not trying to make light of a tragic situation. I know both depression and addiction are powerful diseases. My point in saying he made my day is that it emphasizes no matter how successful or financially well off you are, you are still not immune. It reminds me that chasing every last dollar and stressing over bills is not the answer. We live in a beautiful world and need to focus on the truly important things.

Now, as soon as I can put my soap box away, let's get on with the party...

A little bit further down this post, you can find details on the blogiversary prizes. Some of you may have noticed that I have been a bit absent from the "writing world" coming close to a year now. At least, I hope you noticed. Well, there's good reason for that. I've actually been living a childhood dream.

I'm currently a Walt Disney World Monorail Pilot! Ever since I was a little boy, I wanted to drive one of those things. Last November, an opportunity arose and I took it. Let me tell you, the actual drive training is one of the most challenging things I've done in a long time. Every minute has been worth it! I am having a blast and spend my days with some absolutely amazing cast members.

As for my writing, I have some plans and things are coming together. 

My friends at Helping Hands Press (www.myhelpinghandspress.com) are helping me celebrate this blogiversary for the next 25 days. I have two projects that I am working on for them. Quite a while ago, I started co-authoring a story called Amish Wonder. When finished, it will be a novella about a young Amish boy thrust out into the secular world. For fans of the Defective Amish Detective, I will be re-editing those stories into a complete novel with a nice surprise on the end.

I am also working with Dinosaur George Media on two different series. Ask DG is a question and answer picture book for young readers. Book 2 will feature illustrations from the very talented Victor Donahue. Both Ask DG and Dinosaur George and the Paleonauts book 2 are expected to be available by Christmas. You can find these books and more here: store.dinosaurgeorge.com

And the one that started it all - The Empyrical Tales. Book Four of the Empyrical Tales will continue the story of Zandria and Olena by telling the tale of The First Queen. The whole series will be revamped and re-introduced soon. Until then, I will keep those details under wraps. Please visit my official website for more details and the series and my other books - www.MillerWords.com

While you are there, please check out my new online store, where you can get autographed copies of all of my paperbacks at a special price with free shipping.

In five years of writing, blogging and social media, I have met some fantastic writers and been blessed with some great fans. I've received humbling reviews and inspiring emails. I've tried my hand (not always successfully) in many different genres and have something for most every type of reader. To celebrate, I am giving away the gifts. Here are the links to five of my paperbacks available through Goodreads.com:

In addition to the paperbacks, Helping Hands Press has put together a prize pack of selected eBooks (mine and some of my author-friends). Lazarus Filmworks, for whom I wrote the adaptation of Daniel's Lot, is also including some prizes. Please be sure to visit both of my sponsors. This part of the giveaway will be done through Rafflecopter exclusively on my blog. You can earn an unlimited amount of entries by using social media once a day for the next 25 days.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

In closing, I want to express my gratitude. That is one thing of which I have an abundance and can afford. I am full of thanks for all of my experiences over the past five years. I am thankful for the people, both real and virtual, that I have met. I am thankful for the opportunities I've had. In this time, I have also watched my family grow and change and I thank God for that gift. Please feel free to share this post and all of the prize links. And, as always, I appreciate any comments on my blog.

Thank you for the past five years,
and I look forward to the next five!

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8. 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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9. 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.
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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10. Tyrannosaurus Wrecks! by Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen, illustrated by Zachariah Ohora

<!-- START INTERCHANGE - TYRANNOSAURUS WRECKS -->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 --> Tyrannousaurus Wrecks by Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen with great illustrations by Zachariah Ohara is an awesomely colorful, dinosaur filled wreck of a book. Well

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11. Hatching Triceratops

I painted a hatching Triceratops for the article on baby dinosaurs in the new issue of Ranger Rick magazine.

I suppose I could have painted the scene in sweet pastel colors and bright morning light, but I imagined it more as an urgent moment of crisis, where life hangs in the balance. So I set the scene at night, as if dazzled by the intrusion of a photographer's flash.

I limited the colors to yellow ochre and a dull slate blue, leaving out greens, reds, and pinks. The whole composition includes a wider shot of the nest, with shell fragments, and mud caked on the eggs. I painted everything in shallow focus to evoke the impression of wildlife photography.

This photo of a hatching turtle provided the stimulus for the pose. I liked the way it reached one foot to the ground, and seemed to be gasping for air. But a photo like this is just a starting point.

The shapes of very young Triceratops skulls are known from fossils.

I needed to know the exact light and shadow design of the whole scenario, so I sculpted a small maquette from Sculpey. 

The egg is a thin layer of Sculpey applied over a styrofoam egg. I didn't know what would happen to the styrofoam egg when I put it in the oven. 

It was awesome! It sort of shriveled up to nothing, leaving the Sculpey shell. I spray painted the maquette a flat gray and took it outside in sunlight to figure out the best lighting. 

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12. Snake attacks baby dinosaurs

A few years ago, paleontologists found direct fossil evidence of a dramatic scene where a giant snake invaded a nest of baby sauropods.

When I was proposing illustration ideas to the editors of Ranger Rick for their May issue about baby dinosaurs, I suggested that we reconstruct this fossil.

Here's the final oil painting. I chose an orange and cyan color gamut for a weird look, and I used photographic effects, such as lens flares to add a sense of vérité.

I referred to this fossil photo, along with a line drawing in the scientific paper showing the position of the snake, eggs, and hatchling.
I did a series of quick sketches in colored pencil, fountain pen, and watercolor to explore variations of angles, lighting ideas, and value organizations. These sketches were based on a beautiful sculpted reconstruction by Tyler Keillor.

But I wanted to sculpt my own interpretation of it, so I made a maquette out of plasticine modeling clay. I used that because I planned to recycle the material rather than saving it. Note the lens flare effects when it was set up out in real sunlight.

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13. Dino-Boy Abroad

 So, my eldest child, aka Dino-Boy, trotted off to Canada back in December to work with wildlife, and in exchange reports came back via Skype on Sundays – his day off. Daily life seemed to be along the lines of: prepared the feeds, cleaned out the cages, mended a fence, went to town to fetch the donated food, ate stir-fry.

The content started to vary dramatically as, having learnt how to handle wild animals, Oscar was given responsibility for his first creature – a snow hare with a limp, AND allowed to go out on 'rescues' – what a word!
             The most dramatic was catching two skunks, stuck at the bottom of an eight-metre well. There’s a video of him dangling on a rope, more Mr Bean than Ethan Hunt, and being bitten and sprayed before he can grab the skunk. The scent was so strong that people turned and stared for a few weeks afterwards. 

Oscar and Meisce
When a beaver was spotted swimming in salt water in Vancouver, Oscar was given the job of detoxifying the very sick animal. They don’t name the newcomers – too distressing if they have to be euthanised. Happily, Oscar called him Meisce after he responded to the treatment. He’s now back in the wild. 
Check out the feet!

More animals arrived at the centre and more bites. I only found out that an angry raccoon had taken a lump out of my boy when someone else tagged him – hand wrapped in ice, on Facebook. I demanded a close-up – it didn’t look too bad.

This raccoon is back in the wild
This adorable cub will be released next year

Oscar was due home last weekend, but at the end of March he texted saying he thought he might stay – he’d been offered the chance to look after the 2013 bear cubs, about to wake up after the winter but needing care until their release in summer 2014. No brainer, as Kevin Bacon would say. No surprise either, that April saw me boarding a plane with my daughter, Honor, to go and visit him.
He was big.
The same size, but bigger.
We had an amazing holiday, spending days off with Oscar and the rest of the time doing tourist stuff, but the best part was seeing him at the wildlife rehabilitation centre. It wasn’t the fabulous animals, or even the lovely people he works with, as much as the sense that he was in his element, absolutely.
White Rock B.C.

Wandering one evening along the beach at White Rock with Oscar and Honor, a bald eagle flew over. Further along a blue heron lazily flapped a few times to move out of our path. Ten years earlier, there’d been a similar scene. That time we were in Tofino, on Vancouver Island, as part of a six-week escape prompted by my husband losing his job. Bald eagles were as common as pigeons, black bears were everywhere – one crossed the road as we were walking to the beach, whales were blowing, seals collapsed on rocks.

I wonder whether that once-in-a-lifetime trip, Oscar aged nine, tipped the scales, turning the little boy fascinated by dinosaurs into the one living the life in Canada, where wildlife is truly wild (and let’s face it, bigger).

And the raccoon bite, well . . . the photo he sent was of an entirely different finger with an old wound. This one swelled up like a pumpkin, leaked pus, was as shiny as Downton silver, and had to be sliced open by one of the supervisors.
'Didn’t want to worry you, Mum.'
Me, worry?
My son currently goes into the bear den, picks up the poop, feeds them and jangles about to keep them wary of humans. The bears are around a hundred pounds each. There are four of them. Who’s worrying?

Halo - turning blacker as she sheds her winter coat
Tracy Alexander

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14. Dutch Angle

On the newsstands now is a special collector's edition about dinosaurs from Scientific American. The cover image is the running Giganotosaurus that I painted a while back. (Thanks, Gene)

Note that this is the cloudless version of the image. A later state of the painting (below) includes cirrus clouds and a flock of pterosaurs.

For this picture I used a compositional device called a "Dutch angle," where the camera is tilted off its vertical axis to lend a sense of unease, tension, or impending danger.

The term Dutch angle (also called Dutch tilt, canted angle, oblique angle or German angle) comes from the movie world, where it was pioneered in the 1919 German film The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari.

It was also often used by illustrators doing movie posters and paperback covers in the 1970s and 1960s.

This poster by Frank McCarthy has it all: guns, girls, explosions, bright colors, and a Dutch angle.

And John Berkey used it in this hydro ship, which would have looked more static if the horizon had been level.

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15. Here Comes Destructosaurus! by Aaron Reynolds | Book Review

This book is a good reminder that sometimes toddler tantrums are just because of their inability to communicate, and it’s our job as parents to help them through the rough times. You'll share some chuckles along the way!

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16. My Beloved Brontosaurus

My Beloved Brontosaurus: On the Road with Old Bones, New Science, and Our Favorite Dinosaurs Brian Switek

Guys-- it’s a dinosaur book FOR GROWNUPS. And it’s sad, because it turns out that everything I thought I knew about dinosaurs is TOTALLY WRONG.

Like the fact that dinos aren’t related to birds. BIRDS ARE DINOSAURS. The ones we think of are technically “non-avian dinosaurs.” Just… let that sink in a bit. Seriously, I’ve just been going around like Tracy Jordan screaming DINOSAUR at the pigeons on the street.

The crazy thing is, there is a TON of discovery happening in dinosaurs right now. Switek tells us the new science and explains the history of scientific thought about dinos and why it’s been changing. All while still maintaining his little-kid love of the giant animals. He doesn’t shy away from admitting the pop culture influences his original thoughts and ideas about dinos came from.

He also looks at a lot of the really big questions we ask about dinosaurs-- what color were they? Why did they die? How did something that big reproduce? Were they good parents? What did they sound like? How did they get that HUGE?! Why were they that big? Seriously, did their tails get in the way of mating? (Yes, there is an entire chapter on research into the logistics of reproduction. I, for one, am glad to live in a world where legit scientists have funding to study the physics of dinosaur sex. It warms my heart.)

It’s super interesting and very readable. I could have used more visuals (mostly to remind me which -asaurus is which) but I really liked it. PLUS! It's an Outstanding Book for the College Bound.

Book Provided by... my local library

Links to Amazon are an affiliate link. You can help support Biblio File by purchasing any item (not just the one linked to!) through these links. Read my full disclosure statement.

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17. Dinosaurology: The Search for a Lost World, Being an Account of an Expedition into the Unknown South America - 1907 by Raleigh Rimes, assistant to Colonel P.H. Fawcett, RL: 3

Dinosaurology, the newest entry into the Ology series of interactive books that present themselves as scientific journals chock full of artifacts, flaps, fold-outs and envelopes, hides its inspiration in a brief letter at the end of the book from Sir Conan Doyle dated June 4, 1930. In his letter to the president of the British Association of Intrepid Explorers, Doyle explains that his good

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18. T. Gurneyi Stalks Train Station

Torvosaurus gurneyi has been spotted in a train station in Antwerp (link).
Previously: Torvosaurus gurneyi
(Thanks, Erik!)

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19. Space Camp: The Final Frontier

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E.C. Myers

20140714_213020A couple of weeks ago, I was thrilled to participate in one of the most exciting and memorable things I’ve ever done: the Launch Pad Astronomy Workshop. Dubbed a “space camp for writers,” it brings together established writers, editors, and creators for an intensive, week-long crash course in astronomy: basically a semester’s worth of Astronomy 101 classes in  seven days. It was breathtaking (literally—it takes place in Laramie, Wyoming, about 7,100 feet above sea level), mind-blowing, and, most of all, inspiring.

It was inspiring not only because of all the story ideas it generated and the opportunity to learn more about our incredible, mysterious universe, but because there’s nothing like meeting and spending time with other writers and creative professionals. The 2014 class included authors, reviewers, editors, and television and film writers: Amy Sterling CasilGeetanjali DigheDoug Farren,Susan ForestMarc HalseyGabrielle HarbowyMeg HowreyAnn LeckieWilliam LedbetterAndrew LiptakMalinda LoSarah McCarryJames L. Sutter, Anne TooleTodd Vandemark, and Lisa Yee. Our intrepid instructors were Mike Brotherton, Christian Ready, and Andria Schwortz, whose enthusiasm for their field was apparent and contagious.

We were in class almost every day from 10 a.m. until well after 5 p.m., with some lab sessions and outings thrown in. So what sort of things did we learn? Just as an example, our Monday lectures included the Scales of the Universe, Units, the Solar System, Seasons and Lunar Phases, and Misconceptions about Astronomy. By Friday and Saturday we were discussing galaxies, quasars, and cosmology (including dark matter and dark energy). That’s quite the learning curve! Most of us felt like our heads were full by the end, yet we were always eager to hear more.

Yup. That is totally an exoplanet.

Yup. That is totally an exoplanet.

I know I must have learned some of this stuff in elementary school (and forgotten most of it), but there have also been so many breakthroughs in astronomy since I was a kid (sorry, Pluto!), I was learning much of this for the first time — and I also had a new appreciation for the topic. Every class was a revelation. What made it even better was having the opportunity to see the science we were learning at work: analyzing the emission spectrum of different elements in the lab, searching for exoplanets at planethunters.org (warning — that site is addictive!), learning how those famous images of space are put together for the public, and visiting the University of Wyoming Infrared Observatory to photograph stars with a giant telescope. It was there, at the top of Jelm Mt., that I experienced the highlight of my week: viewing the Milky Way with the naked eye in a clear night sky. (It also looks very impressive in expensive night vision binoculars.) Returning home and looking up at night was depressing; the city lights blot out all but the brightest stars, and I can imagine that some people go their whole lives without seeing a sight like that.

Copyright Todd Vandemark

© 2014 Todd Vandemark

People always ask writers, “Where do you get your ideas?” Look up. Look around you. Ideas are all around us! As a science fiction author who doesn’t have a background in science, all too often I get distracted by fun concepts like time travel and parallel universes and faster-than-light space travel. It’s so easy to forget just how fascinating and exciting actual science is and skimp on it in stories. Why make everything up when we have a whole galaxy to play with, and an even bigger universe full of weird and mind-boggling things?

I’ve always enjoyed doing research for stories, but from now on I’m going to pay more attention to what’s happening in astronomy and physics and the world and universe we live in — and hopefully the things I learn will inspire new stories, instead of the other way around. (Added bonus of the workshop: Now I actually understand those astronomy articles in Scientific American!)

We also stopped by the Geological Museum at the University of Wyoming. I love dinosaurs. Meet Dracorex hogwartsia, "Dragon King of Hogwarts"!

We also stopped by the Geological Museum at the University of Wyoming. I love dinosaurs. Meet Dracorex hogwartsia, “Dragon King of Hogwarts”!

I want to continue learning about astronomy, and work real science into more of my fiction. It’s important to keep “refilling your creative well,” and Launch Pad was a great way to do that. If you’re a science fiction writer, I encourage you to apply to next year’s workshop, and I also encourage you to donate to keep the program going. It’s a wonderful resource that is helping to get more people interested in science, and helping we writers to make our stories as scientifically plausible and accurate as we can.

For other perspectives on this year’s Launch Pad experience, read accounts from my awesome classmates and instructor:

Gabrielle Harbowy
Andrew Liptak
Sarah McCarry
Christian Ready
Jenn Reese

How about you? Would you go to Launch Pad? How do you refill your creative well?


E.C. Myers was assembled in the U.S. from Korean and German parts and raised by a single mother and a public library in Yonkers, New York. He is the author of the Andre Norton Award–winning young adult novel FAIR COIN and its sequel, QUANTUM COIN; his next YA novel, THE SILENCE OF SIX, will be published by Adaptive in November 2014. You can find traces of him all over the internet, but especially at his blogTwitter, Facebook, and Tumblr.

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20. If I Had a Raptor by George O'Connor

There are a lot of great things about If I Had a Raptor by George O'Connor, creator of the Olympians series of graphic novels, but what I like most is the way that O'Connor subtly replaces the expected with the uncommon. A raptor stands in for a cat and, in this time when the conversation about the abundance of white boys in children's literature is starting to take precedence, a little girl

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21. Gigantosaurus by Jonny Duddle

While he definitely has a way with pirates, Jonny Duddle is such an amazing illustrator that I am always excited to see where he turns his focus when working on a new project (be sure to scroll to the bottom of the review to see Duddle's latest project - creating new 15th anniversary cover for UK editions of the Harry Potter books!) As his newest book Gigantosaurus proves, Jonny Duddle has a

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22. 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!


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?


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


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.


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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    23. #505 – Dinosaurs #1: In the Beginning by Plumeri & Bloz

    dino beggingDinosaurs #1: In the Beginning…

    by Plumeri & Bloz

    translated by Nanette McGuinness



    Age 7 to 9    56 pages


     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!”


    “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.


    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.



    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.


    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.


    Learn more about the Dinosaur Series HERE!

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


    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


    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.



    next fr




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

    Dinosaurs #3: Jurassic Smarts    8/05/2014



    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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    24. #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.”


    “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.


    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? 


    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.


    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.


    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!”


    Learn more about Windsor the Bullied Wooly Mammoth HERE.

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


    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.


    windsor wooly mammoth


    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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    25. #513 – Here Comes Destructo-Saurus! by Aaron Reynolds & Jeremy Tankard


    Here Comes Destructosaurus!

    by Aaron Reynolds & Jeremy Tankard

    Chronicle Books    4/01/2014


    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!”


    “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,


    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.


    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.



    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.

    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


    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/


    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.





    Read a review of Carnivores HERE!


    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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