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, Catriona Hoy ill Andrew Plant
Working Title Press 2012
review by Claire Saxby, Children’s Author