How Do Dinosaurs Go to School? is the latest book in the How Do Dinosaurs series, written by Jane Yolen and illustrated by Mark Teague. The series started with How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight?, and now includes some eight titles. These books are very popular, and have, collectively, sold more than 3 million copies. I found this one a bit message-y for my personal taste, but I can see why people like the series.
In How Do Dinosaurs Go to School?, Yolen and Teague use dinosaurs to illustrate how not to behave in school. Each page features a different kind of dinosaur doing something inappropriate. These behaviors are phrased as questions: "Does he tease all the girls? Does he pick on the boys?", etc. And in the end, we learn that of course good dinosaurs don't behave like that. Instead, they help their friends, stand up to bullies, tidy their desks, and so on. While I found the text a bit paternalistic, I can imagine that three and four year olds will be howling with delight over the antics of the dinosaurs.
I do like the illustrations of the dinosaurs. Brightly colored, and over the top, the pictures make each dinosaur unique and interesting. The dinosaurs are very active in the pictures, positively leaping from the page, and are sure to please restless preschoolers. Their large size, relative to the smaller children and classroom elements, makes it easy to keep focus on the dinosaurs, and adds humor.
I also like the way the name of the type of dinosaur is written in tiny letters somewhere in each picture, so that the kids who want to know can find them. In one notable case the name of the dinosaur is written in stacked blocks - very cute. The selection of less well-known varieties of dinosaur also adds to the book's interest. The bird-like Segnosaurus is particularly engaging.
Fans of the How Do Dinosaurs series will find that this installment does not disappoint. Also recommended for dinosaur fans (especially those with an interest in lesser known orders of dinosaurs), and for teachers looking for humorous models of classroom behavior.
Publisher: The Blue Sky Press (Scholastic)
Publication Date: July 1, 2007
Source of Book: Review copy from Raab Associates
Other Blog Reviews: The Imperfect Parent, BooksForKidsBlog, 5 Minutes for Mom, What Adrienne Thinks About That
Author Interviews: DownHomeBooks, Writers Write, Strange Horizons (among many others)