Skip to main content

DINOBLOCK by Christopher Franceschelli, art by Peskimo, 96 pp, RL: ALL AGES

If you had the good fortune to read Alphablock and Countablock by Christopher Franceschelli and the husband and wife design team Peskimo, then you don't need to keep reading this review of their newest book, Dinoblock, because you know you need to buy this book now. If you haven't seen these brilliant, beautiful, completely engaging books, get your hands on them! Get two, actually, because you will feel compelled to give one to a child but you will want to keep one for yourself to read from time to time. These books, along with many other superb titles are brought to us by AbramsAppleseed, an imprint dedicated to instilling a love of books in babies and toddlers by publishing books that will "foster development of its young readers and engage then and their adults in artful, beautifully conceived books." You can read my reviews of other  AbramsAppleseed books here.

Christopher Franceschelli and Peskimo bring a new eye to the genre of concept books, which, for the most part are bland and predictable. Their choices of what to represent for each letter in Alphablock and how to present numbers in Countablock are innovative and unexpected. The illustrations are colorfully cartoonish and detailed when called for. And the page turns are truly inspired! In fact, I think with Dinoblock, this dynamic team has outdone themselves.  Dinoblock begins and ends in a museum. The opening spread is above. I wish I had images of the final spread, which starts with the page below then opens to a four page spread with the text, "Good-bye dinosaurs!" and shows the children looking at displays of dinosaur skeletons.

The genius of the presentation of the rest of Dinoblock is the way that the creators introduce the dinosaurs themselves. The text and illustrations compare a dinosaur to something familiar to our world today. Each spread is three pages, with the center page turning to change the picture. A flip of this center page takes readers back in time. Happily, the dinosaur's name comes with a phonetic pronunciation.

I haven't had a child interested in dinosaurs for almost ten years. I am not up on any new dinosaur discoveries and was happy to see a few new dinosaurs I had never heard of.  

 I hope that Christopher Franceschelli and Peskimo have a few more BLOCK books to share with us. I can't wait to see what they do next!

Source: Review Copy


Popular posts from this blog

Made by Dad: 67 Blueprints for Making Cool Stuff - Projects You Can Build For (and With) Kids! by Scott Bedford

On his personal website, Scott Bedforddescribes himself as an "Award Winning Online Creative Professional" working within the advertising and design industry. What is more interesting (and applicable here) is how hisWhat I Made website came to be. While sitting in a Starbucks with his restless young sons, trying to enjoy his latte, Bedford created something out of coffee stir sticks that ended up keeping his boys entertained, finishing his coffee in peace and sparking (re-sparking, really) his creative drive and reminding him of the "enormous joy gained from making things, even simple things, and that this joy is not the complexity or quality of the finished project but in the process of making itself. On Bedford'sWhat I Made website, he even shares Six Cool Coffee Shop Crafts for Kidsthat you can try out next time you want to enjoy your coffee and your kids are making that difficult. I've shared two below - be sure to check out the website and see the rest!


How to Choose Age Appropriate Books for Advanced Readers

How to Choose Age Appropriate Books for Advanced Readers remains the most read post on my blog since I wrote it in 2012. Because of this, I have cleaned up this post, tightened the writing and added in any pertinent information that has come about since it originally ran. When I first started in August of 2008, I was scrambling for content, finding my purpose and my voice and not always doing my best writing. How to Choose Age Appropriate Books for Advanced Readers was one of the first articles I wrote and, as a bookseller and a book reviewer, and now as an elementary school librarian where I have gone from working with kids reading well beyond their grade level to kids reading well below, this philosophy remains my organizing principle and central focus when reading and recommending books to parents and children. 

In the interest of my mission and the attention this article continues to receive, I have updated and expanded this article and included a guide to using …

POP-UP: Everything You Need to Know to Create Your Own Pop-Up Book, paper engineering by Ruth Wickings, illustrations by Frances Castle RL: All ages

POP-UP:  Everything You Need to Know to Create Your Own Pop-Up Book with paper engineering by Ruth Wickings and illustrations by Frances Castle is THE COOLEST BOOK EVER!!!  I know that I haven't dedicated much time to pop-up books here, but they have always held a special place in my heart, and the phrase "paper engineering" is a favorite of mine. Although I didn't know what it was at the time, I did go through a paper engineering phase when I was ten or so. I would sneak off to the back of the classroom during independent work periods and go to town on the construction paper and glue and make these little free-standing dioramas. A huge fan of The Muppet Show (the original), I reconstructed the all-baby orchestra from an episode, drawing and coloring each baby and his/her instrument then gluing them onto a 3D orchestra section I had crafted out of brown construction paper.  I also made a 3D version of Snidely Whiplash throwing Nell off a cliff with Dudley Do-Right wa…