Dishing on Dinosaur Dramas

There is a meme circulating the internet titled “Times You Know the Most about Dinosaurs.” It’s a line graph with large spikes at age four, and when you have a four-year-old, with a smaller spike in the middle for people who are officially paleontologists.

In case you find yourself with more knowledge about dinosaurs than you imagined possible—or worse, you find yourself unable to keep up with your child’s demands for knowledge—here are a few books about dinosaurs for you to enjoy. Don’t worry, your child doesn’t need to be four to find these books fun or funny.

Sal in How to Be a T. Rex by Ryan North and illustrated by Mike Lowery (Dial Books, 2018), is one of those children with ample dinosaur knowledge, specifically T. Rexes. Sal thinks they are amazing. So amazing, that Sal decides to become a T. Rex. Unfortunately, being a T. Rex isn’t as awesome as Sal thought it would be, because people still think things like following rules, sharing, and being kind are important. So Sal goes back to the drawing board.

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This book is designed more like a graphic novel or a comic book than your average picture book. The bold colours and loud art style will easily grab your child’s attention. For ages 4 to 8.

In The Mine-o-Saur by Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen and illustrated by David Clark (Putnam, 2007), the Mine-o-saur is struggling to share. He claims everything he sees but it still doesn’t make him happy. It actually makes him even sadder. And while he’s moping on top of the most amazing block tower ever he sees the other dinosaurs playing with each other. They are having fun even though they have no toys: no blocks, no skipping ropes, no balls. For ages 4 to 8.

In What Kind of Car Does a T. Rex Drive? by Mark Lee and illustrated by Brian Biggs (Putnam, 2019), Ava and Mickey’s Uncle Otto sells cars. Uncle Otto is having a huge summer sale, or at least he is trying to. But no one is interested in buying a car. Feeling frustrated, Uncle Otto exclaims that he will sell a car to who—or whatever—shows up on his lot. That is when the dinosaurs start arriving. The first few customers are easy enough for Ava and Mickey to serve, but then the tyrannosaurus arrives. He is not easily impressed. For ages 4 to 8.

Poor Mr. Snore is very tired when he arrives at the Sharemore Hotel in There’s a Dinosaur on the 13th Floor by Wade Bradford and illustrated by Kevin Hawkes (Candlewick Press, 2018). But he’s finding it very difficult to sleep. There is a mouse in his first room, a pig in his second, and water drips on his nose in the third. Every time something bothers him he calls down to the ever-helpful bellhop who graciously brings him to another room. But finally, he has had enough, and Mr. Snore decides to find his own room. For ages 4 to 8.

If you have a child who likes gross things and dinosaurs, they may enjoy The Dinosaur that Pooped a Planet by Tom Fletcher and Dougie Poynter and illustrated by Garry Parsons (Aladdin, 2013). Danny and his dinosaur love to have fun in this rhyming tale. The two friends decide to go to the science museum because they are bored. While they are there, they sneak aboard a rocket ship that’s ready to go. They ignore all the warnings, press all the buttons and end up in space. But then, the dinosaur gets hungry and eats everything, at which point things get messy as the dinosaur creatively brings them back home. For ages 4 to 8.

In How to Grow a Dinosaur by Jill Esbaum and Mike Boldt (Penguin, 2018) the narrator explains to a new big brother how to teach the new baby how to be a dinosaur. It is hilarious, adorable, and super relatable. If you have a new baby on the way, this might be a good book for you to read to your older children. For ages 4 to 8.

Sometimes being a dinosaur can be tough as Dino Duckling realizes in the book by the same name. Dino Duckling is written and illustrated by Alison Murray (Little, Brown and Company, 2017). In this book, Dino Duckling feels a little different from the rest of his family. But mother duck and his duckling siblings always assure him that no matter what their differences are, they are a family. He believes her until she and his siblings fly south for winter. At least that’s what he thinks happens. In this heartwarming tale, Dino Duckling learns that love overlooks differences in appearance and accepts you for who you are. For ages 4 to 8.

Christina Van Starkenberg
Christina Van Starkenberg
Christina Van Starkenburg lives in Victoria with her husband, children, and cat. She is the author of One Tiny Turtle: A Story You Can Colour and many articles. To read more of her work and learn about her upcoming books, check out her website at