Saturday, August 21, 2010

Book Reviews and Crafts: Dinosaurs!

What little boy (or girl?) doesn't love dinosaurs?  This week, we were given the opportunity to review a really fun new dinosaured-themed book called Vacation's Over!  Return of the Dinosaurs.

Vacation's Over!: Return of the Dinosaurs (Carolrhoda Picture Books)
Book Jacket: "The worst part of vacation is coming home.  There's laundry to do, mail to pick up, and photos to develop.  It's such a hassle.  So when the dinosaurs return from their vacation (they're really not extinct, you see), just imagine what they have to go through!  Much has changed in the millions of years since they left on a spaceship cruise.  Can Earth handle their return?"

Joe Kulka's delightful, rhyming text details all of the humorous difficulties the dinosaurs face upon their return, from overgrown lawns to package delivery delays.  The illustrations are very colorful, with a good deal of fun detail, but still kid-friendly and not overly stylized.  We both really enjoyed it.

This was less over-his-head than I thought it would be, for a near 3 year old.  Despite there being a lot of new vocabulary for him (he kept asking me about words like "cruise," "news," and "tours" - perhaps he was just in an inquisitive mood), he still really enjoyed following along with me as I read it, and pointing to various dinosaurs.  I think Vacation's Over! would be great fun for an older child.  Recommended book jacket age is 5-9 years old, and I think a child a bit younger could enjoy it just fine as well.

"Famished after this long ride home, the menu makes them fret.  The escargot looks quite tasty; their waiter, better yet."

 Bibliophile's opinion (2 yrs, 9 months):
Me: Did you like it?
Bibliophile: Yeah!  I liked it, Mama! 
Me: What did you like about it?
Bibliophile: You [I] liked the dinosaur mowing the lawn! 

Dinosaur Days (Step into Reading, Step 3)Another new (to us) dinosaur book we read this week was Dinosaur Days.  It was interesting to sample a Step 3 level book in the Step Into Reading series.  I am not sure how much of it the Bibliophile could have read on his own, because I read it all this time.  I really appreciated the level of information presented (informative, but still age-appropriate/kid-friendly), and the Bibliophile enjoyed it also.  I wish the non-fiction dinosaur books didn't always include so much information about fighting predators and eating each other, but the Bibliophile seemed nonplussed by it. 

Bibliophile's opinion (2 yrs, 9 months):
Me: Did you like this book?
Bibliophile: [An affirmative] "mmmhmmm."
Me: What did you like about it?
Bibliophile: You [I] liked learning what all the little dinosaurs' names was.
Then we traded theories about what had happened to all of the dinosaurs to make them all disappear.  The Bibliophile's guess is that "it was too cold." 

Other Dinosaur Favorites

Danny and the Dinosaur (a childhood favorite of mine)

The How Do Dinosaurs... series (I have bought these as gifts for older kids, but for some reason haven't read them much with the Bibliophile.  Mental note to get to them some day.)

Companion Craft/Activity

I browsed dinosaur crafts, but got a little overwhelmed (and was feeling lazy).  So, I decided to just pen a quick dinosaur game board.  An artist I am clearly not!   But I asked the Bibliophile what it was after I drew it, and he answered "a dinosaur!," so that was good enough for me. 
The top of the dinosaurs mouth contained 6 teeth, with the numbers written in them in Spanish.  The bottom of its mouth contained the numerals 1-6.  These could all be numerals, top and bottom.  The Bibliophile just likes Spanish, so I decided to mix things up a little. 

We took turns rolling a die and coloring in the corresponding tooth we rolled.  If we had already colored that tooth, we colored in our opponent's tooth.  And if we both had already colored the tooth we rolled, we rolled again.  This set up only allowed the gameboard to be used once.  You could laminate it for repeated use.  We had fun with it, for 10 minutes anyway.

What are your favorite dino-themed books or crafts?

Disclosure: We were provided a copy of Vacation's Over!  Return of the Dinosaurs in order to write this review.  If you click on any of the links in this post and purchase anything, we may earn a small commission through our affiliate relationship with


Melissa (Betty and Boo's Mommy) said...

Vacation's Over! sounds adorable (and sadly, all too appropriate for this time of year). My kids are 8, but they would probably still enjoy this one for the humor aspect.

Cara said...

My son loves the "How Do Dinosaurs..." books, and I'm definitely adding Vacation's Over to our wish list. We also enjoyed "Trouble at the Dinosaur Cafe." I love the dinosaur game you created. I've been thinking about trying out a dice/number game with my guy.

Joe Kulka said...

Thank you for taking the time to add a review about my book to your blog.

I'm glad your little guy enjoyed it!

Thanks for the nice review.

Best wishes,

Joe Kulka

Raising a Happy Child said...

Great review, and I have to look for those books. One very neat book that we read recently was I Dreamt I Was a Dinosaur. It also had fantastic illustrations. Last week we read Gnash, Gnaw, Dinosaur by Tony Mitton which was neat too, but Anna was a little scared of it.

Christy said...

I could use that vacation book today! WE are all exhausted after two vacations over two weeks. I just saw a cool dinosaur idea on the Almost Unschoolers blog - she made dinosaur cookies and before baking cut them into puzzles for the kids to assemble once they came out of the oven.

Sam and Boo said...

Thanks for some great-sounding dinosaur book suggestions. I'll add these to our list for when my son Boo is a little older. And I love the game you created, too.