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8 Grrrrrrreat Early Years Books With Dinosaurs

Whether your favourite is the Tyrannosaurus rex, Diplodocus or Pterodactyl there's a great tale to be had that your young children will love

  • 8 Grrrrrrreat Early Years Books With Dinosaurs

Those ancient herbivores and carnivores that we’ve all very probably been incorrectly envisioning as fantastic lizard beasts but were more likely giant feathery things, are hugely popular.

So much so, in fact, that not even the borderline ridiculous and far less intimidating new artistic depictions of our newly feathered friends can curb children’s enthusiasm for dinosaurs.

AKA Squirrel duck nightmares

And to be fair, they are fascinating for young minds and old. Imagining what the world was like millions of years ago when dinosaurs were our planet’s principle inhabitants.

And as well as providing a fascinating and imaginative hook, there’s lots to learn about them too. So here’s a pick of some fantastic dino-tales for young children.

1. Hocus Pocus Diplodocus

Steve Howson (Maverick, paperback, £6.99)

If you subscribe to the new-fangled notion that ‘diplodocus’ should be pronounced with the emphasis on the second syllable then frankly, you are not going to have quite as much fun reading this clever story as those of us who are still stubbornly stressing the third. It’s fair to say that you’ll still enjoy it, though – after all, what’s not to love about the idea of a friendly dinosaur born with mysterious, magical powers, who can make things disappear?

Review: Hocus Pocus Diplodocus

2. Gracie Grumposaurus

Brian Moses (Wayland, hardback, £10.99)

Grumpiness is generally a terribly tricky emotion for small people – and their carers – to deal with. This funny story about a dinosaur who seems to be in a permanent state of grouchiness is a great way to explore feelings of tetchiness and irritability with little ones, enabling them to laugh at the hilarious illustrations whilst simultaneously and safely recognising elements of their own behaviour.

Review: Gracie Grumposaurus

3. Oddsockosaurus

Zanib Mian (Sweet Apple, paperback, £6.99)

It’s a complex business, being a small person in a world that can often seem to be designed for grown-ups, and learning to deal with your own feelings as well as handling all the other challenges the universe throws at you on a daily basis. The narrator of this fresh and original child’s-eye view of life is a six-year-old boy who is trying to make sense of his changing moods and whims by thinking of them in terms of his favourite things ever: dinosaurs.

Review: Oddsockosaurus

4. Pick Me Up! Dinosaur

(Dorling Kindersley, bookboard, £5.99)

Wouldn’t it be fun if a gang of baby dinosaurs turned up one day, ready to play? That’s the premise of this bright and cheerful board book from DK, which encourages little ones to imagine what it might be like to hang out with a handful of prehistoric creatures (junior versions, of course, with big, friendly eyes – and definitely more interested in football and den building than, say, fighting and hunting).

Review: Pick Me Up! Dinosaur

5. Gigantosaurus

Jonny Duddie (Bonnier, paperback, £6.99)

When Bonehead offers to be the lookout during the junior dinos’ game, he unfortunately also decides to amuse himself by crying ‘wolf’ – or rather, ‘Gigantosaurus’ – one time too often, and after several false alarms that his pals enjoy considerably less than he does, poor Bonehead finds himself predictably abandoned and in trouble when the enormous predator really does turn up.

Review: Gigantosaurus

6. The Super Swooper Dinosaur

Marin Waddell (Orchard, hardback, £11.99)

When Hal and his dog Billy are interrupted in their play by the arrival of a very large, very enthusiastic and very friendly dinosaur, they are more than happy for him to join in with their games. However, they quickly discover that an enormous pterodactyl is not necessarily well suited to such standard activities as hide-and-seek, or sploshing in the paddling pool.

Review: The Super Swooper Dinosaur

7. If I Had a Dinosaur

Alex Barrow and Gabby Dawnay
(Thames & Hudson, hardback, £10.95)

Children are encouraged actively to participate in this story from the opening page, which replaces key nouns in the text with images, so little ones can fill in the gaps for themselves. And in no time at all they will be setting off on a thrilling flight of imagination, as the young narrator of the tale explains how her dream pet is a dinosaur, and imagines what life might be like if she could actually get her wish.

Review: If I Had a Dinosaur

8. Dino Baby

Mark Sperring (Bloomsbury, paperback, £6.99)

There are so many extra rules for a big brother or sister to remember once a new baby arrives in the family – and it’s very easy for a young person who’s stepping into the role of older sibling to feel a little resentful about all these additional restrictions and obligations. In this warm and loving story about just such a scenario, the focus is subtly shifted in order to emphasise instead the rewards and privileges attached to the task of helping to raise a little one.

Review: Dino Baby

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