Bionic Jean's Reviews > How Do Dinosaurs Say Good Night?

How Do Dinosaurs Say Good Night? by Jane Yolen
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really liked it
bookshelves: children-s-and-ya, fantasy, humour, read-authors-u-z, picture-books-kids, children-s-2000-present
Recommended to Bionic Jean by: Lisa Vegan

How do dinosaurs say good night? is a cute picture book to share with very young children. Written by Jane Yolen, and illustrated with great humour by Mark Teague, it was published in 2000 as one in a series of “How do dinosaurs …” books. All the books depict situations familiar to every young child: how to eat their food, play with their friends, clean their room, stay safe, learn to read, and so on. There are 23 such books so far, each describing a specific scenario.

The books convey useful information about these situations children find themselves in, showing different way of behaving, and what they might lead to. In this one, we follow the antics of eleven different dinosaur children at bedtime. Part of what amuses us, is that every single one is crammed into a tiny child’s bed, with human “parents” coming to tuck them in at night. The lively details in the pictures lead to lots of observational chat between those sharing the book, and the expression on the faces on both humans and dinosaurs is priceless.

The very short commentary – just one sentence per page or less – is all in rhyme:

“How does a dinosaur say good night?
when Papa comes in to turn off the light?
Does a dinosaur slam his tail and pout?
Does he throw his teddy bear all about?”

It has lots of repetition; perfect if a young child is just beginning to recognise initial letters and be able to predict odd words. The illustrator, Mark Teague uses various different perspectives in his full-page pictures, making the reader laugh out loud sometimes at the antics of the dinosaur child. Each is a different type of dinosaur, whether a Tyrannosaurus Rex, a Triceratops, a Stegosaurus, a Pteranodon, an Allosaurus or many more favourite dinosaurs. Cleverly, the name of each appears somewhere in the picture, either as a name on the door, inscribed on end of the bed, or perhaps spelled out in coloured play bricks on the floor. As well as the variety of dinosaurs, the parents are also very diverse, representing all sorts of people from many different ethnic groups.

The delaying tactics and tantrums employed by these young dinosaurs will be very familiar to young readers! And each time, although we see what appears to be the dinosaur behaving in this way, we learn that no, that is not what they did. We chuckle along, knowing that they are being very silly and look ludicrous. We try pouting like they do, in that funny fashion. Do they really behave like that?

The answer is no, they most certainly do not! And then we find out how they DO behave, which is very cute indeed.

The dinosaur children give their prehistoric parents great big hugs and kisses, cleverly use their enormous tails to turn out the light, tuck themselves in, and whisper, “Good night”. Cue for everyone to say “Aaah”, which I duly did, and my little 4 year-old Turkish friend smiled from ear to ear and pronounced it “Good”. He had enthusiastically spotted lots of details in the illustrations too, and enjoyed following the story. Keen to read, he sometimes guessed the words, which are printed in a satisfyingly large font, perfect for this.

At the beginning of the book, the frontispiece shows each of the eleven dinosaur children playing on their bed. One is blowing bubbles, one jumping up and down on the mattress, one reading quietly and so on. Each is affectionately drawn, making us smile at their postures and clearly conveyed characters.

Jane Yolen describes how she came to write this particular book. Her editor had a baby just a year old. One day she called and said, “My little boy hates going to bed at night and loves dinosaurs. Can you write something for him?” This short little tale written in verse was the result. When the author first saw the illustrations by Mark Teague, depicting knowingly naughty dinosaur children, and their parents in various stages of frustration and despair, she knew “he’d taken my little rhyme a giant step further on”.

How do dinosaurs say good night? has won many awards. It is a lovely playful book, full of whimsy and fun but also with a great friendly message.
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Reading Progress

May 19, 2017 – Started Reading
May 19, 2017 – Shelved
May 19, 2017 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-18 of 18 (18 new)

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message 1: by Nisa (new)

Nisa I would love to try to read my nephew but English not for her I should find Turkish one :)

Bionic Jean My little neighbour speaks both! If your nephew has just a little English, it is very simple :)

message 3: by Nisa (new)

Nisa No she doesn't know English but maybe I can try if I can find this book in here. But I will look surely :)) Thanks Jean. :)

Bionic Jean I hope you like it, and you can just talk about the funny pictures :D

message 5: by Nisa (new)

Nisa She don't like to stay still so her mother says she doesn't listen book. I want to try some book with pictures so she will be little interested. She love me comment about what she watching and get more excited about it so I want to try my luck :))

message 6: by Nisa (new)

Nisa Thanks, I loved this book with your review. This is a really lovely review, that made me to want to try :)) and I can try that too thanks for advice :)

Bionic Jean Yes, it's a good idea to keep it short and funny in that case!

message 8: by Nisa (new)

Nisa I will keep in my mind, thanks :)

Lisa Vegan I remember really enjoying this one!

Bionic Jean I think I became aware of it through your review Lisa! I'll add you as the recommender :)

message 11: by Lisa (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lisa Vegan Jean wrote: "I think I became aware of it through your review Lisa! I'll add you as the recommender :)"

Thanks, Jean. I'm glad that I helped you find it. Goodreads is wonderful and members helping members find books is a big part of it.

Bionic Jean Absolutely! My library got it for me :)

message 13: by Rita (new) - added it

Rita Wonderful review, Jean! I wonder if my great-grandchildren would like this. Probably not Avirey since he's only one but his older sister Aubrey is three. Unfortunately I don't have much contact with them since they live in a different state. It does sound like a cute book.

message 14: by Karen (new) - added it

Karen Jean, what a delightful review and fun book to read to children. I am going to purchase a copy for my future grandchildren, if I am ever so lucky. Not rushing that just yet:)

message 15: by Bionic Jean (last edited Sep 29, 2017 12:20AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Bionic Jean Rita wrote: "Wonderful review, Jean! I wonder if my great-grandchildren would like this. Probably not Avirey since he's only one but his older sister Aubrey is three ..."

It sounds ideal for Aubrey! I hope she loves it if you decide to get it for her. And thank you very much :)

Bionic Jean Hi Karen - It's so good to hear from you - and I hope you enjoy this book just for yourself anyway! I have lots that fit the bill that way. Thank you :)

message 17: by Cecily (new)

Cecily I love the sound of this. I take small consolation from the fact that publication was too late to read to my kid, so the failing is not mine!

Bionic Jean They keep coming ... there will always be excellent children's books, of that I am sure :)

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