S: Of course those latter ones were not really about dinosaurs though they did have a lot of pretty precise drawings. But let us get back to this Fact Tracker book.
the biggest C: Yeah. This book tells us everything humans know about dinosaurs. There are pages for Tyrannosaurus rex, and other meat eaters, and then there are pages and pages of information on plant eating dinosaurs like sauropods, triceratops, and ankylosauruses. Then there is a Hall of Fame. There are lists of the fastest, the biggest, and the ones with the biggest heads, biggest eyes, and the longest necks, and the longest names, and so on.
Today Caramel visits Memory Lane, and shares some thoughts on five of his favorite books from when he was a much littler bunny: How Do Dinosaurs Say Good Night? (2000), How Do Dinosaurs Get Well Soon? (2003), How Do Dinosaurs Eat Their Food? (2005), How Do Dinosaurs Go To School? (2007), and How Do Dinosaurs Say I Love You? (2009), all written by Jane Yolen and illustrated by Mark Teague. As usual, Sprinkles is asking questions and taking notes.
Sprinkles: So Caramel, it has been a long time since I saw you with these books!
Caramel: Yes. I used to read and reread these books so many times, but I don’t do that anymore. But I saw them the other day and wanted to look over them again. I still love them!
S: I know! We used to read them together. They all rhyme and they all have so many amazing pictures all throughout…
C: Yes, I love the pictures of the dinosaurs! They are so good! And they also say what each dinosaur is, and so for a bunny like me who loves dinosaurs, these books are just perfect!
C: Yes, they are all different dinosaurs, and the picture of each is different, with all sorts of details.
S: So tell me a bit about How Do Dinosaurs Say Good Night? This is the first book of the series I think, and it was the first one we read.
C: This is about how young dinosaurs often delay going to sleep. Apparently a dinosaur who doesn’t want to go to sleep might throw his teddy bear all around, and slam his tail around, and shout “I want to hear one more book!” They also might roar or do other mischief, like turning back the lights on.
S: Those sound quite familiar to me as a parent trying to put her little ones to sleep!
C: Yes, they are very funny.
S: But of course you would never do such mischief before bed?
C: Of course not! Marshmallow and I are such sweethearts, we’d never do such a thing.
S: You are sweethearts alright, but I guess we might disagree about bedtime mischief….
S: Okay, next tell me a bit about How Do Dinosaurs Get Well Soon?. What’s this one about?
C: It’s about when a little dinosaur is sick and not feeling well. It is about them whining and complaining and so on. But in the end we learn actually that the little dinosaurs don’t ever do those bad things. The story goes:
Does he push back each drink,
spit his pills in the sink?
Does he make a big stink?
Is that what you think?
S: So actually the books all start with all possible bad behaviors and then …
C: and then they end with all the good things the little dinosaur could be doing.
S: So in a way, this is teaching young bunnies how to behave even when they are not feeling well. Right?
S: Okay, now let us talk about the next book: How Do Dinosaurs Eat Their Food? What is this one about?
C: This is about how little dinosaurs eat their food. It again starts with all the bad things a dinosaur could be doing. And then we learn that the little dinosaurs don’t do those things. They say “thank you”, “please”, and so on. They “sit still”, and “eat all the food in front of them with smiles and good will”.
S: So again a little bunny is learning how to behave during dinner time. Right?
S: So tell me more about the drawings. Do you find them amusing? Interesting?
C: Yes. The parents on each page are humans and only the children are dinosaurs. It’s funny, and I like thinking of myself as a dinosaur.
S: I guess children would like to be dinosaurs sometimes, it would be really fun to imagine. And parents are a bit too serious and maybe even a bit too old to be dinosaurs.
C: Yes, kind of.
S: Okay, so what will you tell us about How Do Dinosaurs Go To School?
C: This is about all the bad things a little dinosaur could be doing in school, like pushing friends around, teasing them, being noisy when students need to be quiet, and so on. But actually the little dinosaur helps his classmates, raises his hand in class to talk, has a lot of friends he plays with, and growls at bullies.
C: Well, they are similar maybe, but the pigeon there does not want to go to school. He’s afraid. So that book is about making the pigeon feel good about going to school. But this book is about how to behave at school when you are already there.
S: I see. That makes sense.
S: So which is your favorite dinosaur in this book?
C: The Silvisaurus, who is sitting in class, fidgeting, with his tail in the air…
S: Do you ever do that in class too?
C: No, I don’t! I try to listen to my teacher and do what she says.
S: Good for you Caramel!
S: Finally tell me a bit about How Do Dinosaurs Say I Love You?
C: This one is about dinosaurs saying “I love you” without words.
S: So they show their parents how much they love them with their actions?
S: What kinds of actions?
C: The dinosaurs in this book make messes and behave badly sometimes, but then they make up for it, and they help out, and they smile and hug and kiss their parents, and so the parents know their little dinosaurs love them.
S: I think this one is written a bit differently than the other book. You hear the story from the voice of the parents who notice the little dinosaur’s love in his actions. Then the parents tell him in return how much they love him, too.
C: Yes, that is true.
S: I especially loved reading this book to you out loud and giving you big hugs.
C: I really like big hugs!
S: So did you know that there are a few other books in this same series that we did not read?
C: Yep. Apparently there is one about counting, one about colors, one about cleaning one’s room, and one about playing with friends.
S: But we read and reread our five books so many times!
C: Yes. I really liked them when I was little.
S: Caramel, you are still little in the grand scheme of things.
C: Well, you too are tiny in the grand scheme of things, Sprinkles.
S: Touche! You are right. Cosmologically I am tiny, too. And I still love reading together with you.
C: Maybe we can read some of these together tonight?
S: I’d like that. But for now let us wrap up this review. What do you want to say to your readers?
C: They should all read these books! And they should all stay tuned for more book bunny reviews!
Sprinkles: Caramel, you chose a big book for your review this time, right? This is a big format book, quite heavy, too, with 160 pages!
Caramel: Yes! This is a really big book. I have to put it on the ground to read it.
S: It has lots of colorful pictures, right?
C: Yes, including a pachycephalosaurus! Did you know that a pachycephalosaurus is a bonehead?
S: What’s a bonehead?
C: These are dinosaurs that use their heads to fight. They charge each other with their heads and then they bump, crash into each other. Pachycephalosaur means “thick-headed lizard” apparently.
S: That’s weird! What else is in the book?
C: On each page there are lots of dinosaurs and other reptiles. There are crocodiles and flying reptiles. Here is one of my favorites: terrestrisuchus. But I don’t really know how to pronounce it! Anyways the book tells us:
Terrestrisuchus was smaller than Gracilisuchus (about 10 inches tall). Its body was short but its tail was twice the length of its body and head put together. It had long legs and must have sprinted over the dry landscape, snapping up insects and small lizards in its long jaws. It probably ran mostly on four legs, but could have run even faster on just its back legs, using its tail for balance.
S: So dinosaurs and prehistoric reptiles came in all sorts of sizes, right? Which of the bigger dinosaurs do you like most?
C: Other than pachycephalosaurus? Velociraptors! They ran fast! And they had feathers! But they couldn’t fly, so scientists think that they used their feathers to keep warm.
S: So there were flying dinosaurs too?
C: Pteranodon flew of course! But there were also other flying reptiles. Some lizards would glide!
S: Dinosaurs in this book seem to be all over the world, there were different types of dinosaurs in different places, and they also lived in different times, right?
C: Yes. Scientists think the earth is 4.5 billion years old. And the book starts at the beginning, with life in the seas, then moving on to land.
S: So the book is organized historically. There are about twelve pages about early life and then we begin learning about dinosaurs. Every now and then we look at different geographies. What happens in the end?
C: In the end the dinosaurs went extinct. But scientists don’t really know exactly why and how. It is kind of sad.
S: Yes, it is indeed sad Caramel, but if dinosaurs had not gone extinct, there might not be much room on this planet for us rabbits.
C: Good point! We might not have enough food to go all around for all of us. Still I like to learn about dinosaurs. They are very interesting!
Last week Caramel reviewed The Cookie Fiasco by Dan Santat, from Mo Willems’ series Elephant and Piggie Like Reading. Below he shares his thoughts on the second book he read from the series: The Itchy Book by LeUyen Pham. Sprinkles is taking notes and asking followup questions.
Sprinkles: So what do you want to tell us about this book Caramel?
Caramel: It’s an awesome book! The book is about a group of dinosaurs who all have an itch to scratch, except one. But they can’t scratch their itches.
S: Why not?
C: There’s a sign that says “Dinosaurs do not scratch”.
S: And so they want to follow the rules and don’t scratch themselves, right?
C: Yes, until the end. But I won’t tell you what happens in the end. Can I instead tell you about which dinosaurs are in the book?
S: That is a lot of different dinosaur types. How come you know them all?
C: I like dinosaurs. And I know all about the first four. And one of my friends knows a lot about the pachycephalosaurus.
S: So which one is your favorite dinosaur then?
C: The pachycephalosaurus! It’s a plant eater. I also like triceratops and pterodactyls. I also like pteranodons, but there is no pteranodon in The Itchy Book.
S: That’s a good way to get back to the book we are talking about. So what else did you want to say about this book?
C: I loved the book! It is so funny! The twist in the end is cool and the characters themselves are all funny!
S: Ooo, so there’s a twist in the end, hmm?
C: Yup, but I won’t tell! Everybody should read it themselves!
S: I agree. Ok, so this was again an Elephant and Piggie Like Reading! book. Do they appear in the book again, like in The Cookie Fiasco?
C: Yes. They show up at the beginning of the story and also at the end. Like before. And Gerald gets very very itchy in the end.
S: Well, talking about itches and scratching itchy spots might make you itchy, no?
C: Yep, that’s exactly what happens to Gerald. But I didn’t feel itchy. I just felt like laughing.
S: That is good, isn’t it? This book reminded me of Shel Silverstein’s poem: The Unscratchable Itch. Do you know it?
S: Ok, then we should read it together:
There is a spot that you can’t scratch Right between your shoulder blades, Like an egg that just won’t hatch Here you set and there it stays. Turn and squirm and try to reach it, Twist your neck and bend your back, Hear your elbows creak and crack, Stretch your fingers, now you bet it’s Going to reach — no that won’t get it– Hold your breath and stretch and pray, Only just an inch away, Worse than a sunbeam you can’t catch Is that one spot that You can’t scratch.
Shel Silverstein, from A Light in the Attic, Harper & Row, 1981.
C: That is a funny poem!
S: It is, isn’t it? And a good place to end your review this time, right?
C: Yes, it’s just about time. Because now I’m itchy! Scratch scratch!