Don’t Ask a Dinosaur
Author: Deborah Bruss & Matt Forrest Esenwine
Illustrator: Louie Chin
Published April 17th by POW!
Summary: Don’t Ask a Dinosaur is about a party that goes wildly awry when a pack of dinosaurs with very unique physical attributes attempt to help set up.
“Don’t ask Deinocheirus to set the forks and spoons,” because his hands were enormous, “Therizinosaurus cannot blow up balloons,” because he had very long claws. In the end they find the one thing everyone can help do is to blow out the candles on the cake…but will it create yet another mess?
Review: Don’t ask a dinosaur what he thinks about this book! Unless he says it is awesome, funny, and informative. Then ask him, and trust his answer.
I was introduced to Esenwine’s work when I read Flashlight Night, and I was immediately impressed with his work–he just had a way with words! While this picture book is quite different, it is not going to let Esenwine fans down. It for sure didn’t let Trent down; he already has had us read this multiple times with different questions each time we read. He also thinks it is hilarious, finding something silly each time he reads.
I also loved the book for a couple other specific reasons. First, I loved that the story included some pretty unknown dinosaurs to help the readers get introduced to them in a fun way. Esenwine and Bruss also did a fantastic job with their rhyming using syllable count to make it even more rhythmic than it would be without. And the addition of phonetic spellings of the dinosaur names was a nice touch to help with the pronunciation for the adult reader and for the child as they learn about the dinosaurs.
Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: On the surface, this text will be a way to introduce a bunch of different types of dinosaurs in a fun, rhyming text; however, this can just be a jumping off point for either a creative writing activity or a science activity (or both!). Because of Esenwine & Bruss’s specific syllables and rhyming, it would be quite challenging and fun to ask students to pick dinosaurs and try to think of other things that they may not be good at and ask them to write their own mini-dino poems. Or students can take the dinosaurs that are introduced in the book and research them to find out what they really wouldn’t be able to do in real life.
- Why did the certain dino get chosen for each activity?
- What dinosaur was new to you?
- If you could have one dinosaur at your birthday party, what dinosaur would you pick? What would you make sure not to have it do?
- How does the phonetic spelling of the dinosaur names help with the rhythm of the text?
- What is going on in the background, in the illustrations, as the narrator helps you see what dinosaurs shouldn’t do?
Read This If You Love: Dinosaurs!, Jane Yolen & Mark Teague “How Does a Dinosaur” series, PBS’s Dinosaur Train
Make sure to stop by other stops on the Dinosaur Tour!
April 6: Michelle H. Barnes (Interview w/month-long writing prompt)
April 8: Kate Narita (Trailer & activity sheet spotlight)
April 11: Deborah Kalb (Interview w/Matt Forrest Esenwine & Deborah Bruss)
April 13: Radio, Rhythm, & Rhyme (Interview w/Louie Chin)
April 16: KidLit Exchange (Blog post re: process of illustration)
April 17: Momma’s Bacon
April 18: Bonnie Ferrante
April 19: Brenda Harsham
April 25: Bonnie Ferrante (Interview)
May 2: Unleashing Readers
**Thank you to POW! and Matt Forrest Esenwine for making this blog tour happen!**