For my first “Booktober” list, I am sharing our Top 7 Dinosaur Books. We love dinosaurs. And obviously we love books. So dinosaur books are the greatest.
1.Tyrannosaurus Drip by Julia Donaldson and David Roberts
Julia Donaldson is an absolute favourite in our house. Her rhymes are always a rollicking ride. There are generally scary bits and funny bits. In this one, I love the line:
And they muttered, “What a shame that bridges aren’t invented yet.”
Pickles doesn’t think that bit is as funny as I do. I think that’s a good sign in a children’s book. I enjoy reading it over and over, which is handy since he requests it over and over.
In Donaldson’s books, the baddies usually get their comeuppance. Here, the bad guys are mean tyrannosauruses, who like to pick on the gentle duckbills:
And they shouted, “Up with hunting!” and they shouted, “Up with war!” And they shouted, “Up with bellyfuls of duckbill dinosaur!”
Incidentally, this is kind of fun to yell out when you’re feeling grumpy. Teaching little people to vent their anger by stomping around like a tyannosaurus isn’t such a bad idea. There are definitely much worse things they could be doing.
The book tells the story of a little duckbill dinosaur egg that ends up in a tyrannosaurus nest. The little duckbill is sad that he is such an outsider in what he thinks is his real family. Until he finds out who he really is.
Books for kids are about so much more than teaching reading. This one has a great message, dinosaurs, and lots of talking and learning points. We love it.
2. Dinosaurs Love Underpants by Claire Freedman and Ben Cort
Pickles loves this book, but I think he will love it even more when he has truly discovered pre-school humour. Underpants. Hilarious.
This book answers the question of how the dinosaurs were wiped out. They got too obsessed with underpants and went to war over them. I’m pretty sure it’s historically accurate. Even if it’s not, the book is clever, funny, and colourful.
The amusing pictures are a particular highlight of this book. Without reading the text you can tell some wonderful stories with this one. Pickles also likes to find all of the things that the little boy at the end has in his room that are the same as things we have. It’s always fun when you can make connections like that.
I think this book will be one that can be enjoyed from different perspectives over a number of years.
3. How Do Dinosaurs Say I Love You? by Jane Yolen and Mark Teague
This book is a very sweet one to read with your own little dinosaur. It talks about some of the ways a small child can be defiant or infuriating during the day, and then about all of the moments of love that more than make up for the rest.
Of course, Pickles denies ever doing any of the naughty stuff. And to be honest, he’s right for the most part. Maybe we’re in for more of it as he gets older… hopefully he’s not learning anything too bad from the book! But, he is fascinated by the behaviour of the “dinosaurs” in the book, and he always has a big smile when it becomes clear that the mums and dads will always love the little dinosaurs, no matter how cross they get about certain things.
The book has the secret ingredients of rhyme, repetition, and great pictures. I particularly get a kick out of how well dressed and put together the mums and dads are the whole way through. That to me seems the greater fiction than the children looking like dinosaurs. But, the children as dinosaur element is entertaining for little dinosaur fans, and the proper names of the dinosaurs are hidden in the pictures to sneak in a bit of extra learning and fun.
I’d always rather my kids be playing outside. Or building Lego. Or reading books. But that’s not to say that Peppa Pig hasn’t saved my sanity on multiple occasions. She brings five minutes of joy to Pickles’ day and five minutes of peace to mine. We love that little pig.
So when we discovered she was in a book (with dinosaurs no less) and buttons along the side to press, it goes without saying that we were very excited.
The story follows an episode of the television show in which Miss Rabbit drives all the regulars to explore Grampy Rabbit’s Dinosaur Park. The pictures are big and bright, and the noisy buttons along the side add an extra element of interaction.
It’s also very fun to do your best Brian Blessed as Grampy Rabbit impression.
5. This Little Dinosaur by Ladybird
This is a great book for babies. Board books are perfect for teaching little hands to turn pages. This book is also short, has big, bright, bold pictures, as well as parts to touch and feel, making it attractive for the very youngest of readers. At eight months, Pords will sit on her own and look through this book quite happily.
It has fun rhymes to match the pictures and it asks the reader to think of a name for a dinosaur at the end. This makes it fun for toddlers and so for us, it is a great one to read when both Pickles and Pords want to read a book at the same time because it can be enjoyed by babies and toddlers.
6. Dinosaurs! A Prehistoric Touch-And-Feel Adventure by Jeffrey Burton and John Bendall-BrunelloBefore he could talk, if we asked Pickles which book he wanted to read he would invariably roar. Not that we needed to ask. This touch-and-feel book about dinosaurs was his absolute favourite. For a little person the book is just so interesting. Aside from the fact that there are dinosaurs, which on its own is a huge draw card, this is book is an amazingly interactive, tactile experience. There are things to feel, and flaps to lift, there are things to turn, and there is a big pop out dinosaur. The pictures are bright and colourful, and the text is written in simple rhyme.
Looking at it from a parent’s perspective, it is also great for language development. There is simple, descriptive vocabulary that is enhanced by the touch-and-feel aspects of the book. So, for example, children can see the dinosaur’s long neck stretch, as the page folds open, or they can run their fingers along the bumpy scales. There is also more complex vocab in the names of lots of different dinosaurs. I learnt a thing or two myself, although I could still brush up on pronunciation!
It is sure to be a hit with any older babies or toddlers.
7. That’s Not My Dinosaur… by Fiona Watt and Rachel WellsI’m not generally a huge fan of overly structured sensory play. Mainly because I’m a bit rubbish at it. But I make an exception when it comes to books.
You might have noticed that several books on this list have an element of touch and feel. Touchy feely books are perfect for engaging babies and toddlers. Making sure reading time is fun is a great way to nurture an early love for books.
Touch and feel books are also brilliant for language development. Learning what the word “rough” means, is much easier if while you are hearing the word, you are also feeling something that is rough.
Children hear and they forget. They see and they remember. They do and they understand. The more you can get them involved in the reading process, the more they will get out of it.
There are a whole range of books in this series and we have a lot of them. They’re all great, but what little kid doesn’t especially love dinosaurs!?