Scholastic have just released two great new dinosaur picture books for the young dinosaur fan in your life, Dino Bites! by Algy Craig Hall and Dinosaurs in the Supermarket by Timothy Knapman and Sarah Warburton.
Dino Bites! by Algy Craig Hall is like a dinosaur version of There Was an Old Woman Who Swallowed a Fly. It starts with ‘This is the dinosaur looking for lunch. This is the lunch looking for a snack…’ and continues on with smaller dinosaurs each time, all looking for something to eat. However, their food is still buzzing and wriggling inside their tummies and with one big BURP everything is back in order. The story is simple enough for even the smallest dinosaur fan to enjoy and the illustrations are appealing because they’re bright and bold. The front cover is sure to jump out at children, with the big T-Rex with its mouth open wide.
Dinosaurs in the Supermarket by Timothy Knapman and Sarah Warburton will appeal to dinosaur fans young and old. I’m sure it’s almost every kid’s fantasy to meet an actual dinosaur, but what would happen if you went shopping with your mum and dinosaurs were everywhere? The boy in the story sees a ‘T-Rex gobbling sausages…Stegosaurus spilling beans…and Apatosaurs chucking frozen peas,’ but when he tries to show his mum, the dinosaurs hide. It’s not long before the dinosaurs have created a huge mess, but the boy gets the dinosaurs to play a game of Supermarket Clean-up. Dinosaur fans will recognise their favourite types of dinosaurs in the story and will have fun trying to find the dinosaurs in their hiding places. The rhyming text is fun to read and the illustrations will have kids in stitches. Sarah Warburton has obviously had a lot of fun creating havoc with her dinosaurs on the page and making a huge mess of the supermarket.
It’s always exciting to discover new dinosaur books because they’re always so popular with young readers. I highly recommend both of these picture books and I know they will have children laughing (and roaring) along with the story.
Anton and the Battle is one of those picture books that you know is going to make kids laugh just by looking at the front cover. How can you not laugh when the two boys are swinging a cow and a cello at each other? The cover hooks you in and you want to find out what the battle is about.
The story starts with Anton and Luke arguing about which one of them is the strongest. Anton can lift a big stone, but Luke can lift an even bigger stone. They keep trying to out-do each other by proving that they’re stronger or louder or braver – until they meet a ferocious puppy.
Anton and the Battle is a wonderful story about the power of the imagination and the joy of play. Both the text and the illustrations are so simple, but really funny. Ole has coloured his two characters but left the rest of the page white so that they and their imaginations stand out. The white space allows the giant horn or the bombs to take center stage and draw the reader’s attention. The illustrations will have children laughing out loud, as Anton and Luke chase after each other with giant hammers, swing lions and tigers over their heads and get stuck up trees. The page where they are swinging lions and tigers over their heads is hilarious (just look at their faces)! I love the twist on the story when Ole throws a puppy into the mix and even when they’re stuck up a tree, they’re still trying to out-do each other.
It’s a story with lots of anticipation that keeps children guessing. Before you turn the page you could ask them what they think might happen next. Even after the story is finished you could ask children to suggest other things that Anton and Luke could battle with or ways they could show they’re stronger, louder or faster than each other. They could even draw their own Anton and Luke battle scene.
Anton and the Battle is one of Gecko Press’ first releases of 2013 and is available in libraries and bookshops now.
I love picture books that are interactive. I’m not talking about book apps, but physical books that ask the reader or the audience to do something. Not only are they fun for the audience, they’re also incredibly fun for the reader. Some of my favourite interactive picture books are the cat books by Viviane Schwarz (There Are Cats in This Book, There Are No Cats in This Book), that involve you blowing on the page to dry them off and throw balls of wool at them. I’ve just discovered a new favourite interactive picture book, called Open Very Carefully by Nicola O’Byrne and Nick Bromley.
The book starts off with the story of The Ugly Duckling, but something shows up in the story that shouldn’t be there – a really big, scary CROCODILE! It seems that this crocodile likes to eat letters, words and even whole sentences, but you’ve got to stop him before he eats the whole book. You try rocking the book backwards and forwards to make him go to sleep, and you try shaking the book to make him fall out. Will it work or will he eat the whole book?
Open Very Carefully will have adults and children in hysterics! Part of the humour of the book is in the way that you read it, putting the emphasis in the right place, and part of it is in the hilarious illustrations. At the beginning of the book the crocodile is looking very happy with himself, but that changes quite quickly when he discovers that he is wearing a very unflattering outfit. From the very first page children are engaged in the story and they’ll want to help you get rid of the crocodile. The interactive parts of the book are especially great for sharing one-on-one as these parts make children feel like they are important to the outcome of the story. The design of the book is wonderful too, especially the final pages and the back cover, which offers one final surprise for readers.
I will be reading Open Very Carefully again and again to preschoolers and school groups in my library. I’ll have to try and read it without laughing myself though.