“'There's cold chicken inside it,' replied the Rat briefly; 'coldtonguecoldhamcoldbeefpickledgherkinssaladfrench

'O stop, stop,' cried the Mole in ecstacies: 'This is too much!'”
-- from
The Wind in the Willows

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Buying, Training & Caring for Your Dinosaur • Picture book

Buying, Training & Caring for Your Dinosaur
by Laura Joy Rennert • Pictures by Marc Brown 
October 2009 • Random House Children's Books •  Picture book •  Ages 5-8
A hilarious guide to having a dinosaur . . . as a pet!  Illustrated by the creator of the beloved ARTHUR of picture book and PBS-TV fame.

Story:  Dogs are delightful. Cats are cute. And fish are fun. But the best pet of all is . . . a DINOSAUR! But how do you pick the dino that’s right for you? Spiky? Armored? Humongous? Pea-brained? Plant-eater? How do you take care of him once he’s (gulp!) home? How do you feed him, exercise him, take him to the vet, and give him a bath?! Not to mention train him, since he might like to chew on—er, swallow—Mom’s new shoes.
Full of little-known info and sage advice, this definitive guide to dino ownership is sure to thrill and delight kids everywhere!
Story behind the story: Author Laura Joy Rennert, a literary agent in California (this is her first book!) says:  "I went through a dinosaur phase when I was about six and still haven't grown out of it.  If I weren't in the book business, I would definitely be a paleontologist.  The dinosaur I'd most like to own is a Triceratops -- but I'm not sure how well a Triceratops would get along with my pet Chihuahua, Lola, or ...the furniture.  Plus Triceratops are herd animals, so like potato chips, it might be hard to stop at just one." 
Illustrator Marc Brown tells us:  "Having been born in the Jurassic Period, I could really illustrate this book with authority.  The paintings are done with a printmaking technique called monoprinting, and using gouache gave me vibrant colors.  I have been waiting for thirty years to use this style in a picture book.  It was important to me for the art to have a playful freshness that honors the honesty of children's art.  I was inspired a great deal by Picasso's thoughtful words:  'It took me fifty years to be able to paint like a child.' I now have one of the most extensive libraries about dinosaurs in the free world.  As an artist, it was interesting to learn how colorful many scientists speculate dinosaurs may have been."

"This starter guide will copy in handy, whether kids are in the market for a new fantasy pet, or just a fun read-aloud...Youngsters will quickly become absorbed in this enjoyable mix of facts, fantasy and fossils." -- Booklist

"From dino descriptions to basic commands—"STAY (Ha!)"—to exercising your dino and taking it to school, it's a cheery descendant of Bernard Most's classic If the Dinosaurs Came Back (1978)."
-- Kirkus Reviews

"The opening spread, filled with smiling dinosaurs and children's faces, sets the tone for this tongue-in-cheek guide .... [Marc] Brown helps the cause with vivid monoprint with gouache artwork—some of his best illustrations to date. His overly enthusiastic, sweet-faced, humongous patterned dinosaurs are—in defiance of natural history—irresistibly delicious."
-- School Library Journal

FYI:  All the review copies for this title have been sent; please check back and click on the "comments" link to read what your colleagues have to say.


Julie P. said...

From the title and cover alone, I just knew that Booking Son was going to love the new book BUYING, TRAINING & CARING FOR YOUR DINOSAUR by Laura Joy Rennert and illustrated by Marc Brown. While he's not exactly dinosaur crazy like lots of other preschoolers, he does relate to wanting a pet in our otherwise pet-free home. I had a feeling that he might get some ideas from reading this book, but I thought it was worth the chance because the story looked so darn cute.

Both of us thoroughly enjoyed this story, and we had a great time reading it together! While I'm pretty sure that all kids will laugh out loud at parts of this book, Booking Son definitely has the right sense of humor to appreciate it. He actually thought the sarcasm in the story was hilarious, and he kept trying to explain to me what the author really meant.

The book starts out by showing some of the different types of dinosaurs with definitions. While the definitions were loosely based on the creatures' size and traits; for the most part, these definitions were very just plain silly. They provided some some funny explanations for the dinosaurs' personalities and behavior; and they helped to match up the best dinosaur for your family.

The next part of the book is the instructions on how to get ready to bring the dinosaur into your home. It includes basic command training and has lots of sarcastic advice for the future dinosaur owner. There are also instructions for exercising your Dino, taking him to school, and traveling with Dino. Needless to say, there are just lots of laughs on these pages.

The book ends on a sweet note -- that Dinos are for fun! There are various ideas for how children can make their dinosaurs happy and content. And best of all, there is a message that a dino is a kid's best friend!

As far as the pictures go, you can't go wrong with anything illustrated by Marc Brown. (Yes that Marc Brown of Arthur fame!) The pictures are just perfect for the story and definitely complement it. I especially loved all of the bright colors, but I think my son most liked how funny the pictures were. The illustrations of the play between the kids and the dinosaurs are very silly, and they do a great job of bringing the story to life.

Booking Son and I highly recommend BUYING,TRAINING & CARING FOR YOUR DINOSAUR! In fact, I can't wait to take it into his preschool and read it to his class.

Rating: 5/5

Kim Watson said...

Has anyone received their copy of this book? I requested it over a month ago. :( Copies were still available when I sent my email.

Deborah Sloan said...

I know that copies (and folded and gathered sheets -- early preview copies) for this book have been sent by the publisher. Please understand that the publishers try to share as many books as possible and only wish that they could supply enough for all of you (but did you know that there are other 6,000 visitors to this site each month?!). Sometimes, the publishers forget, though, to send me a note to say that books are no longer available. Or, sometimes, I'm not in my office for a few hours (or days if I'm on a business trip) and can't make the change. Please know that I try to keep things as current as possible -- thanks for understanding. And thanks for being a part of The Picnic Basket. It's all about hearing all of your thoughts on the books and how you use them with kids.

Kim Watson said...

Thanks again, Deborah! I'll keep checking my mailbox. I'm a preservice teacher who will graduate in a few weeks. I look forward to adding them to my classroom library. :)Thanks for all of your hard work! This site is wonderful!

SunshineFamily said...

I never received my reviewer's copy either which happens often, even when it says they are still available. I am okay with that and always glad when I do get a copy to review. I don't usually review books that I have not received a copy of but I just came across this in the library and picked it up ready to love it. I love dinosaurs. I am not overly scientific about it so I can let myself go with something fun like Dinosaurs Galore, it is not all facts and timelines! However, a real opportunity was missed here to mix the science with the fun and whimsy. With the exception of the dinosaurs names there was very little facts about the real dinosaurs. Yes, giving dinosaur personality traits most suited for each family is nice but we should not be afraid of mixing it up with actual terminology. Despite that, I did not like the tone of the book. It lacked joy. It lacked authenticity. THink of all the care and training tips you could have thought of based on actual dinosaur facts, think of the lessons that could have stemmed from such a book. Think of the hours of play in the Pet/Vet Center in your preschool. Ah, well. I would have liked to give it higher but alas, 2/5, it just falls too short for me.