There are few types of books that draw the reader in like books about these giant reptiles of long ago. These outstanding books (unless otherwise stated) are geared for ages four through eight and are in a picture book format.
Let’s Look at Dinosaurs, by Frances Barry, has an interesting format featuring a large dinosaur on each page and flaps that lift where more information can be discovered. Some pages even have parts of the dinosaur that pops out. Each page asks a simple question directed to a particular dinosaur and by lifting the flap you’ll discover the answer in both illustration and text. Be sure to check out the end-pages that showcase the sizes and shapes of the dinosaurs featured in the book.
Dinosaur Dig!, by Penny Dale, is a brightly painted book that begins with one dinosaur digging what eventually becomes a very large swimming pool. With each turn of the page, another dinosaur joins in until 10 dinosaurs are busy at work. The pages are filled with vibrant watercolor and pencil and the front end-pages identify the names of the dinosaurs at work and the final end- pages showcase modern machines now used for excavation.
Dinosoaring, by Deb Lund, and vividly painted with gouache and watercolors by Howard Fine, is an adventure in the air. When the Dinos take off in their giant plane, they are equipped with “dinogoggles, scarves and gear, / They board the airplane from the rear. / The crew’s so squished inside that space,/ They can’t fit one more foot or face.” The double-page spread on every page pulls you into the flight as these massive reptiles seem to jump off the page. Introductions of each dinosaur are made on the front end-pages.
Revenge of the Dinotrux, by Chris Gall, is a rip-roaring, crawler-crashing, mega-moving book as dino machines escape the museum after a Kindergarten class visit. The Tyrannosaurus Trux climbs a skyscraper and the Septisaurus guzzles down a swimming pool to name a few activities. The mayor gets involved to calm down the mayhem and ultimately the dinotrux’s and the community come up with a brilliant solution making all happy. The illustrations of over-large tires and expressions on these machines are brilliant!
Chalk, by Bill Thomson, is an extraordinary story told in pictures only. Three kids find some magical chalk that seems to make what they draw come to life. One girl draws a sun that makes the rainy day become sunny. Another draws butterflies that begin to fly everywhere. Trouble begins when the boy draws a dinosaur and suddenly a giant mean dinosaur goes after them. Only after he draws rain does the dinosaur become erased. The wordless story is wonderfully creative, but it’s the amazingly beautiful illustrations that take your breath away. These were done the old fashioned way: by hand – with no computer graphics involved.
Dinosaur Discovery (Everything You Need to Be a Paleontologist), by Chris McGowan, and painted by Erica Lyn Schmidt, is an in-depth look into the body structure and anatomy of 13 extinct animals. There are activities and experiments found throughout the book that help teach the concepts presented. The book is well-written and easy to understand and follows the directions given. This is an excellent book for children, ages eight through twelve, interested in this subject. In-depth facts about 13 dinosaurs are interspersed with activities that teach readers about anatomy and how paleontologists understand body structure.
Dinosaur World (Kingfisher Readers Level 3), by Claire Lewellyn, is a smallish sized reader geared for those with the ability to read short paragraphs, but with more complex sentence structure. However, this book is so interesting and is filled with facts and pictures which will entice kids ages four through nine. The large text, bright pictures and placement of facts are all kid-friendly.
I Am a Tyrannosaurus, by Anna Grossnickle Hines, shows a boy as he acts out a particular dinosaur and after turning a few pages you discover what type of dinosaur he’s describing. Each page has a solid color backdrop with just two sentences in large text making this geared for ages three to six. The last page has a pronunciation key for each dinosaur covered in this smallish sized book.
Dinosaurs, by Judy Allen and Tudor Humphries, helps children answer questions that they may have such as when dinosaurs lived, what they ate and what happened to them. The lay-out has simple questions posed, and by lifting the flaps the answers are found. There’s also a pronunciation page found in the front of the book.
How Do Dinosaurs Go UP and Down?, by Jane Yolen, and brilliantly illustrated by Mark Teague, is a board book of opposites that feature colorful dinosaurs and a rhyming text as youngsters learn about the concept of opposites. Each page features a flap that shows the opposite of the concept learned. Some include fast-slow and quiet-loud. This book is best for ages two to five.
And lastly, this subject wouldn’t be complete without a book about reptiles. Reptiles (Explorers series), by Claire Lewellyn, easily explains what a reptile is while breaking this wonderfully photographed book into sections that include describing a reptile, where it lives and how it survives. Each page showcases an outside scene with several reptiles living in their particular habitats.