by B. B. Mandell, illustrated by Suzanne Kaufman
Balzer & Bray, 2016
A family of T-Rex’s, what could be better for a five year old? Samanthasaurus is a gentle soul who likes to paint, design and talk and her family doesn’t really understand her. They tell her she needs to be strong, a leader and make noise, but Samanthasaurus is comfortable in her own skin. Her family go on a hike and Samanthasaurus weaves vines into rope, discovers a shiny diamond and explores how to ‘harness’ energy. As her family climbs the mountain, she figures out the mountain is a volcano and her family is in danger. She uses the items she found to save her family and her family sees her in a new way. This story blends the ancient with new, modern concepts (harnessing energy!) while encouraging young readers to be who they are, for that is where they will find their true strength.
While the story is filled with dangers, illustrator Suzanne Kaufman expertly paints the dinosaurs in pastels and keeps smiles on everyone’s faces to keep the story light-hearted.
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You Look Yummy!
By Tatsuya Miyanishi
Originally published in Japan
You Look Yummy! Is an utterly endearing story that touched my heart; and I can see why it’s an international best seller. It’s the best picture book for boys I’ve seen all year.
A baby Ankylosaurus hatches open, but no parents are available. When he sees an adult Tyrannosaurus, he runs up and grabs onto the leg of the Tyrannosaurus and calls out, “Daddy! I was really lonely. I was scared.” Startled, and touched by the youngster’s innocence, the Tyrannosaurus, who had planned to eat the youngster, doesn’t have the heart to hurt him. In fact, he defends the youngster when a hungry Chilantaisaurus approaches to eat it.
The next morning Tyrannosaurus is worried when he can’t find the baby. Eventually, the baby returns carrying some berries he had picked for his daddy. Tyrannosaurus was so angry, he scolded the little one. The Baby apologizes, saying, “I thought you would be happy…” Tyrannosaurus enjoys teaching the little one how to be a tyrannosaurus until he realizes he’s doing the wrong thing. When he sees the baby’s parents, he tricks the baby into going in their direction, as he runs the opposite direction. Once Tyrannosaurus is sure the baby understands he has found his correct parents, he says goodbye and leaves.
Even though the Tyrannosaurus is not the real father, readers will enjoy the power the little one has over the adult, who protects and nurtures him. Bright yellows, oranges and greens emphasize the starkness of the foreign land of dinosaurs and hold the attention of the young reader/listener.
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