Published over 50 years ago, Syd Hoff’s Danny and the Dinosaur is still widely used and respected as a great book for beginning readers. Easy to sound out, it was a good way for me as a child to feel like a successful reader. I remember reading it to my grandmother over and over again. I remember how I felt, when I read this book, that I had unlocked this whole world of reading. I felt proud of myself. I felt like a real reader.
I think this book is good for that reason. It’s a very basic, beginning book which is decodable for children, but it isn’t simplistic. It has a story line with an interesting idea (a dinosaur comes to life from a museum!) and it is also quite lengthy. While still helping children to feel like successful readers, it also challenges them and interests them. It focuses on meaning as well as other skills necessary for becoming a great reader.
Again, while I wouldn’t necessarily use this for a read-aloud or to do a lot of instruction with, it is definitely a book I will want to have in my classroom to help children learn to open up the world of literature on their own.
by Charity McCracken