How Many Dinosaurs Deep? By Ben Kitchin ill Vicky Fieldhouse

Jim was learning how to swim. He had just gone up from the baby pool to the middle-sized pool.
‘Don’t worry,’ said his mum. ‘It’s not that deep. I don’t think the middle-sized pool would even come up to a Stegosaurus’s knee!’
‘Really?’ said Jim as he edged away from the water.
‘A Stegosaurus must be big! How deep can water get?’

Jim is a bit apprehensive about the deeper water in the middle-sized pool and his swimming lessons. He’s also obviously keen on dinosaurs. Mum relates the depth of this and other water to a scale he can visualise – that of dinosaurs. As he questions his mum and she answers in ‘dinosaur scale’, he gradually overcomes his fear of this new pool. A final spread at the completion of the story offers dinosaur information and images. Illustrations are in watercolour and black pencil.

Dinosaurs are fascinating for so many children, and many master the complex pronunciations and collect myriad facts long before they can write those names or the information. Here, a realistic fear is overcome by connecting it to Jim’s fascination for these extinct animals. Mum relates this experience to Jim’s interest and diverts his fear into curiosity about other waters and their depth relative to different dinosaurs. On one level this is a story about fear of water, but it also offers the opportunity to talk about science and measurement. And dinosaurs. Recommended for pre- and junior-primary readers.

How Many Dinosaurs Deep? Ken Kitchin ill Vicky Fieldhouse
New Frontier Publishing 2017 ISBN: 978925059731

review by Claire Saxby, Children’s author and bookseller

I Wanna Be a Great Big Dinosaur by Heath McKenzie

More than anything else in the

Whole wide world, I wanna be a




More than anything else in the

Whole wide world, I wanna be a




A small, very active and noisy boy wants to be a dinosaur. Fortunately, a dinosaur overhears him and helps teach him the things that he must do to be a Great Big Dinosaur. He teaches the boy how to roar, stomp and eat. In turn, the boy teaches the dinosaur what it is to be a little boy. Illustrations are loud and enthusiastic and full of energy. Text types also show that this is not a quiet book. Endpapers offer more traditional dinosaurs, with the endpapers suggesting some behaviour adaptations once dinosaurs have communed with little boys!

Many young children, particularly boys, go through a dinosaur-obsessed period. I Wanna be a Great Big Dinosaur!captures just how loud and wild and exuberant this can be. But it also reminds young dinosaur-wannabes in a very gentle way that there are things that are very enviable about being a little boy. Mostly though this is just a joyous romp through childhood. Sure to become a favourite of pre-schoolers everywhere.

I Wanna be a Great Big Dinosaur!, Heath McKenzie
Scholastic 2015
ISBN: 9781743626009

review by Claire Saxby, Children’s author and bookseller

My Dinosaur Dad by Ruth Paul

This dad is TALL,

this dad is SQUAT.

This dad is HUGE,

This dad is NOT.

This dad is TALL,

this dad is SQUAT.

This dad is HUGE,

This dad is NOT.

‘My Dinosaur Dad’ introduces a range of dinosaur dads, describing both their physical attributes and also their behaviours. The narrator’s dad is the final dad to appear and his arrival sends most of the others packing. But despite his reputation and apparent behaviour, to the young dinosaur, this is merely Dad. ‘My Dinosaur Dad’ is a large format, heavy paper, paper back, suitable for very young children. Images are simple and clear although there are also other animals flitting about each opening. Some of these other animals are there to provide scale and interest. Foliage is often stylised but provides an introduction to ancient flora. Dinosaurs appear in a wide range of gentle colours and patterns.

My Dinosaur Dad is a perfect introduction to dinosaurs, so beloved of young children. But rather than offer too much information, it presents them as loving and attentive fathers. There are dinosaur fathers of all shapes and sizes, likes and behaviours. Most readers will recognise aspects of their fathers in these pages. Ruth Paul has had fun with her patterning and colouring of the dinosaurs. In addition to introducing dinosaurs, ‘My Dinosaur Dad’ offers opposites (tall/squat, chunky/thinner) and words (spiky/prickly, knobbly/tickly) that are fun to say and explore. There are plenty of extra details for young readers to enjoy, including young dinosaurs mimicking their fathers with varying degrees of success. Ideal for pre-schoolers.

My Dinosaur Dad, Ruth Paul Scholastic NZ 2013 ISBN: 9781775431749

review by Claire Saxby, Children’s author and bookseller

The Little Dinosaur by Catriona Hoy illustrated by Andrew Plant

Millions of years ago, in a time before Australia existed, there was a land called Gondwana. It was very cold there, even in summer. In winter it was dark all day and all night.

Millions of years ago, in a time before Australia existed, there was a land called Gondwana. It was very cold there, even in summer. In winter it was dark all day and all night.

The Little Dinosaur begins many millions of years ago, when dinosaurs roamed the land we now call Australia. The reader is introduced to a specific dinosaur, now known as a Leoellynasaura amicagraphica, who lived – and died – so long ago. Skip forward to now, when a bone, buried for so long, is discovered by a palaeontologist. Slowly, carefully she works with the rock that holds the bone. Working with a team of experts, the palaeontologist recreates this little dinosaur, so she can be introduced to the world. The cover shows the little dinosaur sitting atop a rock, queen of her world. End papers spill with information about prehistoric Australia and about dinosaurs. Illustrations are a mix of full colour spreads and vignettes, in warm and cool colours that evoke the seasons. They are full of prehistoric details, down to the particular species of Thylacine portrayed.

The Little Dinosaur is firstly a picture book for sharing with dinosaur-lovers. The author is a senior science teacher and the illustrator well-known for his depictions of dinosaurs. Together they provide a reading experience that combines the imagined world of an individual and factual information about the environment in which she and others lived. It links the living dinosaur and her world with today and the way we learn about the past. It also introduces those who work to understand more about these fascinating animals. For the classroom, The Little Dinosaur provides the basis for introducing many science concepts to young students. Gondwana with its very different climate, landscape and animals. Food chains, palaeontology, and much more. There are multiple links to curriculum. Recommended for lower- to mid-primary readers and dinosaur fans of any age.

The Little Dinosaur

The Little Dinosaur, Catriona Hoy ill Andrew Plant
Working Title Press 2012
ISBN: 9781921504396

review by Claire Saxby, Children’s Author

Robert Irwin Dinosaur Hunter 1: The Discovery, 2: Ambush at Cisco Swamp, 3. Armoured Defence and 4: The Dinosaur Feather.

Robert Irwin, son of Steve and Terry, brother of Bindi, now has his own series. But where Bindi’s books are about her adventures at the family’s Australia Zoo, Robert is obsessed with slightly older animals. Prehistoric in fact. Robert is a huge fan of dinosaurs. In the first title, Robert finds himself crossing from the present to the mid-cretaceous period where he encounters real dinosaurs.

The assassin focused in on his target.

It was going to be easy. The target was concentrating so hard, there was no way he’d notice the stealthy footfalls of the assassin as he came at the target from behind. It was going to be the easiest job the assassin had had in ages. So easy, he wondered if he should delay it until the target could at least put up a bit of a fight.

Nah, he’d destroy him now anyway.

Then he could go dirt bike riding.

Robert Irwin, son of Steve and Terry, brother of Bindi, now has his own series. But where Bindi’s books are about her adventures at the family’s Australia Zoo, Robert is obsessed with slightly older animals. Prehistoric in fact. Robert is a huge fan of dinosaurs. In the first title, Robert finds himself crossing from the present to the mid-cretaceous period where he encounters real dinosaurs. Fortunately, his natural (genetic?) ability to ‘read’ animals is combined with the knowledge he’s garnered allow him to understand a little about what’s going on. And there’s a lot going on. Along the way, he learns more about dinosaurs than most people will ever know. In subsequent titles, he visits other periods, meets other dinosaurs in their natural habitat.

Many young children, boys particularly, develop an intense fascination with dinosaurs. Robert, star of these novels, is no different. Well, except that he gets to live his fantasy by visiting these amazing creatures in their habitat. More and more is becoming known about dinosaurs and children are adept at searching out knowledge when they are passionate about it. Young readers will understand Robert’s thirst for knowledge and empathise with his frustration that not everyone shares his passion. How can they not? But even if Robert wasn’t known because of his famous family, young readers would flock to this series written for the dino-phile. Recommended for newly-confident readers moving from illustrated texts towards novels.

The Discovery (Robert Irwin, Dinosaur Hunter)

Robert Irwin Dinosaur Hunter 1: The Discovery Random House 2013 ISBN: 9781864718454

Robert Irwin Dinosaur Hunter 2: Ambush at Cisco Swamp Random House 2013 ISBN: 9781864718461

Robert Irwin Dinosaur Hunter 3: Armoured Defence Random House 2013 ISBN: 9781742750910

Robert Irwin Dinosaur Hunter 4: The Dinosaur Feather Random House 2013 ISBN: 9781742750927

review by Claire Saxby, Children’s Author

Dinosauritis, by Jeannette Rowe

Darwin was a normal child,
who used to run and go quite wild.
Until one day he clamped his claws,
around a plastic dinosaur.

Darwin loves dinosaurs, and nobody is better at talking about dinosaurs than Darwin. He can say all their names, and impresses everyone he meets. Everyone that is except Sally Dolomide, who knows just as much about dinosaurs as Darwin does. Darwin starts to feel quite ill and when his mum finally calls a doctor, the diagnosis is serious – Darwin has Dinosuaritis!

Dinosauritis is a fun flip the flap story of a dinosaur obsessed boy, filled with dinosaurs enough to please any child who, like Darwin, is dinosaur crazy. The pictures are big and bright, and the flaps on every spread encourage interaction. There are also bonus dinosaur facts and games at the back of the book.

A fun offering for sharing.

Dinosauritis: A Flip-the-Flap Dinosaur Tale

Dinosauritis: A Flip-the-Flap Dinosaur Tale, by Jeannette Rowe
Allen & Unwin, 2012
ISBN 9781743310120

Available from good bookstores or online.

Millie's Something Special, by Tania Cox & David Miller

Millie sighed. “How can I be brave? I’m too small to stomp and roar and my feather’s aren’t meant for flying.”

Poor Millie. A small dinosaur with a long feathery tale, she has no means of protecting herself from big, bad Reggie. Each of her friends has something special to make them feel brave. But not Millie. She doesn’t thinks he’ll ever find her something special. Until she comes across Reggie late at night and is surprised when her tail tickles him and makes him laugh. At last it seems she’s found her special skill.

Millie’s Special Something is a delightful tale about unique talents, bravery, friendship – and the fun of tickling, too. Tania Cox’ text is beautifully brought to life by the paper sculpture illustrations for which David Miller is well known, full of detail and quirkiness.

Youngsters will love the dinosaur characters, and the message is gentle. Suitable for early childhood classrooms and at home enjoyment.

Millie's Special Something

Millie’s Special Something, by Tania Cox & David Miller
Working Title Press, 2012
ISBN 9781921504389

this book is available from good bookstores or online from Fishpond. Buying through this link supports Aussiereviews.

Ready to Read Series: Extreme Animals; Slithering Snakes … and more!

Ooh! Look at the holographic covers!

Dinosaurs, sharks, bugs, extreme animals, snakes and machines. Three of these titles are Level 1, for beginner readers and the other three are Level 2, for newly independent readers. Images are photographic (ahem except of course for the dinosaur title which is illustrated) and the text is informative, delivered in short sentences. The main narrative is in rhyme, with text boxes providing extra information. There is a guide at the beginning for parents wishing to assist their child in learning to read. Each title also includes a quiz page, to help cement any new information and provide structured opportunities to be sure the information was absorbed. There’s also a illustrated dictionary.

This new series of readers from Scholastic is guaranteed to find many fans in the classroom and at home. Each cover is holographic featuring title, a main image and five images along the bound edge of the book. Each image changes when the cover is moved. Think snakes and dinosaurs opening their jaws wide. Deliciously scary. The covers will ensure these books are chosen from any pile, and the content will keep them there. The need for information will entice the reader from word to word, page to page. The dictionary, key words, sight words and quiz will keep readers coming back. They will ignite new interests and feed existing interests. A great addition to any school reading program and to any home. Recommended for children learning to read.

Bugs (Ready to Read)
Bugs, Scholastic Australia 2012 ISBN: 9781742831183

Extreme Animals (Ready to Read)
Extreme Animals, Scholastic Australia 2012 ISBN: 9781742831169

Slithering Snakes (Ready to Read)
Slithering Snakes, Scholastic Australia 2012 ISBN: 9781742831176

Mighty Machines (Ready to Read)
Mighty Machines, Scholastic Australia 2012 ISBN: 9781742831190

Dangerous Dinos (Ready to Read)
Dangerous Dinosaurs, Scholastic Australia 2012 ISBN: 9781742831213

Sharks (Ready to Read)
Sharks, Scholastic Australia 2012 ISBN: 9781742831206


review by Claire Saxby, Children’s Author

The ABC Book of Dinosaurs, by Helen Martin and Judith Simpson

The ABC Book of Dinosaurs is a sturdy board book introducing dinosaurs to small children. The text is sparing and the illustrations gentle. Size comparisons are demonstrated very clearly in illustrations where the text indicates ‘small’ and ‘tall’ etc. Accurate names are used, but so too are descriptors like ‘spiky tail’ for the Kentrosaurus and ‘three sharp horns for Triceratops. The narrative text is rhyming, and different font sizes are used to help differentiate between the narrative text and labels and the like. Illustrations are pastel coloured with plenty of white space to allow close examination of each of these remarkable creatures.

Dinosaurs continue to entrance generation after generation of young children. The ABC Book of Dinosaurs is a new title for the very young in a series that includes the beautiful ‘Animals’. The ABC Book of Dinosaurs offers accurate information in a very simple style without overwhelming the illustrations or ‘dumbing down’. Danny Snell’s illustrations have smiling faces…even the big-toothed Tyrannosaurus Rex appears almost friendly. A beautiful book. Recommended for toddlers and dinosaur fans.

The ABC Book of Dinosaurs [Board book]

The ABC Book of Dinosaurs , Helen Martin and Judith Simpson, ill Danny Snell
ABC Books Harper Collins 2009
ISBN: 9780733324796

review by Claire Saxby, Children’s Author

This book can be purchased online from Fishpond. Buying through this link supports Aussiereviews.

Dinosaur Knights, by Michael Gerard Bauer

Tens of millions of years before the earliest humans would tread the same earth, a giant theropod lowered its snout to the forest floor and sniffed.
It was almost time.
A second, more urgent, need now joined the bitter hunger already clawing away in its stomach. The big dinosaur arched its neck skyward and stared with unblinking eyes through the edges of the forest to the flood plain below. Soon a small parcel of air laced with promise of warm flesh and brittle bone streamed through its nostrils.

Dinosaur Knights brings together the past, the even further past and the near future. An ambitious team of scientists, backed by private interests, hope to transport a live dinosaur to the future by stretching time. A sceptical investigative journalist has been flown in from Australia to record the anticipated culmination of years of research. The viewpoint changes constantly as the reader experiences life in the different time zones. In the future, the journalist seeks to understand the motivation for wanting a live dinosaur. In the middle ages, twin boys of complementary natures (one a would-be warrior, the other a would-be healer) struggle to save their father from a corrupt official. And in the prehistoric past, a carnivore dinosaur hunts. Tension escalates as a thread is pulled through all three times.

Knights, dinosaurs and modern science are an unusual combination given their existences didn’t ever overlap. Or did they? Bauer postulates a scientific ‘what if?’ and creates a film scene-like story where the impossible happens. The short chapters and scene-shifting from time period to time period keeps the pace a-cracking. Symbols at the start of each chapter make it clear which period is hosting the action. Then it changes when the dinosaur is stranded in the middle ages and the chapter headings cue the viewpoint character/s. Quotes from Einstein accompany each of the three parts. Along the way, morals and ethics are examined – in an age appropriate way – and provide ample opportunity for discussion. In the future, the scientist and the journalist both investigate in their own way. In the middle ages, two boys suffer for the politicking of others in the castle and in the time of the dinosaurs, the therapod seeks to survive. A thrilling story which lasts beyond the final words. Recommended for upper primary readers.

Dinosaur Knights

Dinosaur Knights, Michael Gerard Bauer
Omnibus Books 2009
ISBN: 9781862917958

This book can be purchased online at Fishpond. Buying through this link supports Aussiereviews.