Kids love dinosaurs. There are as many dinosaur books to choose from as an apatosaurus's neck is long. That's why, when a dinosaur book that stands out from the rest comes along it deserves attention, and Name That Dinosaur: A Puzzle Adventure by Amelia Edwards, gorgeously illustrated by Martina Jirankova-Limbrick definitely deserves it! What makes this book different? Not only is this an adventure story, it is also an interactive experience for reader and listener. The jacket of the book, printed on extra-thick, glossy, kid friendly paper, unfolds into a poster depicting all sixteen of the dinosaurs portrayed in the book. However, the dinos don't have names! As the reader and listener follow the story, clues help to identify the mystery lizards and name stickers at the bottom of the poster allow reader and listener to accurately label the dinosaurs. Fortunately, for the dino-challenged like myself, there is a little book tucked in an envelope at the end of Name That Dinosaur: A Puzzle Adventure that details and names each dinosaur.
But, all this alone does not a great dinosaur book make. British children's book designer, art director and author Amelia Edwards has created a magical adventure story that follows a young dinosaur enthusiast's search for knowledge. The greatest thing, among many other great things about this book is that, unlike 90% of all picture books and stories featuring kids and dinosaurs, this book has a girl as the protagonist. Don't worry, for those of you who are parents of boys who are going through that period when they avoid all things "girl." The main character, Abba could appear, to the young and untrained eye, much like the main character of the amazing Peter Sís's (let it be noted: I am deeply regretful that I have not featured his books here yet...) book Komodo, a MUST for all lizard lovers - genderless, therefore rendering all he/she articles interchangeable. And, while we're on the subject, Sís also has a quartet of books that are perfect for toddlers and available in hardback and board book. Each book takes a subject that is infinitely fascinating to most 2 - 5 year olds and embarks on an imaginary expedition. In my house,Trucks, Trucks, Trucks was the go to book for my boys. The book begins with a mother asking, "Matt, will you please pick up your trucks?" I always changed the name Matt, Sís's son's name, to the name of which ever child of mine I was reading to. We follow Matt as he cleansup his room and imagines himself driving the various trucks he is putting away. At the end of the story, Mom and Matt take a walk down the street wheret here is a construction site filled with all of the same trucks that were in Matt's room.
But I digress. Back to Name That Dinosaur: A Puzzle Adventure! Speaking of Peter Sís, the artwork of Martina Jirankova-Limbrick is very reminiscent of Sis'. Interestingly, both are natives of the Czech Repiblic. I wish I had more artwork from the book to share, but these two cover illustrations along with artwork from Martina's other book, The Artful Alphabet, will have to do. While whimsical and painterly when depicting Abba and her environs, Jirankova-Limbrick's artwork is also succinct and descriptive when it comes to representations of the dinosaurs. Abba, who lives in the island of Rosa Turuso, along with her dog Dash has a hat named Hattah that, on days when the moon and the sun appear in the sky at the same time, comes to life and transports Abba wherever she wants to go. On this day she wants to finish labeling her new dinosaur poster and Hattah cheerfully flies Abba and Dash all over the island visiting Mr Lion's library, Professor Dragonby's hedge maze and the Seven Dancing Lizards, looking for hidden dinosaurs and clues while filling in the names on the poster.
Dino-lovers should be sure to check out these other great picture books: