Free Friday: Never Ask a Dinosaur to Dinner

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While walking through Barnes & Noble, Never ask a Dinosaur to Dinner’s bright cover caught my eye.

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Never ask a Dinosaur to Dinner is a lively picture book full of rhymes that is a perfect read aloud for young children. It is the story of a little boy trying to get ready for bed. At each step, he contemplates asking a wild animal to help him but then explains why that would be a bad idea.

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The child first explains that asking a dinosaur to dinner would end horribly because the dinosaur would have no manners and eat everything in sight (including the table!). He then moves on to talking about why you shouldn’t share your toothbrush with a shark, share the sink with a beaver, use a tiger as a towel, use a bison as a blanket, or let a barn owl in your bed. By the end, the boy realizes that the only animals you need at bedtime are a teddy bear to cuddle and a flock of sheep to count! He is finally able to fall asleep once he acquires these animals.new doc 8_1

This book is lovely! The rhyming text is cute and easy to follow, and it highlights the hilarity of wild animals doing human tasks. The consistent pattern of interaction between the boy and different animals keeps the story dynamic but enjoyably predictable. The only downside of the book is that some of the rhymes are kind of forced, like “And build a great beaver dam, and/fill that whole thing up with salmon”. These cause the flow of the text to become more awkward. Despite the few slant rhymes thrown into a text full of rhyming couplets, the overall writing style is solid because it is distinct and funny.

new doc 9_1The illustrations are very engaging; the colors are bright and bold. Even though there are a bunch of wild animals, they are drawn cartoon-like which keeps the tone more kid-friendly. There’s so much to look at in the illustrations! If you examine them closely, you can find a teddy bear on each page. In addition to being aesthetically pleasing, the illustrations also add to the plot. The pictures contribute immensely to the humor and lightheartedness of the story and help clarify what is being said in the text.

I think this would be a great bedtime story since it perfectly follows a bedtime routine from dinner to sleeping. This routine in particular is just a little more absurd and filled with more wild creatures than your average bedtime! The realistic, cozy ending brings the story home and puts kids in the mood for going to sleep.

This story can also can be used for an educational purpose since it goes through a series of different animals. Seeing these pictures and thinking about what each animal might do with a human helps reinforce kids’ understandings of those animals.

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Never ask a Dinosaur to Dinner is a fantastic picture book! I would use it as a bedtime story for any kid between 2 and 6 because they would adore the story’s silliness. Plus hopefully by the end, they would be ready to cuddle their own teddy bear and fall asleep!

-Jenna Ravasio

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