Tuesday, February 6, 2018

How to grow a dinosaur by Jill Esbaum, illustrated by Mike Boldt

Esbaum and Boldt make a great team in this humorous but sweet story of a new sibling.

A orange dino, complete with suburban parents (mom wears capris and dad a suit) is thrilled at the arrival of a new sibling. At least, it's going to be a sibling. Right now it's just an egg. Waiting is hard, but when the new baby finally arrives, a charming pink, big dino is ready, with all her best action figures, dino toys, balls, and sports equipment. But "BAD NEWS! Babies are too little to play." In fact, babies can't do much except make messes - so it's up to the older sibling to teach that baby everything! The time passes quickly playing peek-a-boo, learning to roar (gently), and helping figure out what's wrong when baby cries. Naturally, there are perils in baby's new world - a random cliff, saber-toothed tiger, and smoking volcano or two, but you, the big dinosaur, are there to smooth the way. Just make sure you don't teach baby dino any bad behavior! Soon enough baby dino will be roaring, playing, and loving you, the big sibling, because that's what you've shown them what to do!

There's no mention of the dinosaurs' gender, although readers may assume the older one to be male, from the sports equipment and rambunctious behavior. So make sure you remind yourself to use neutral or female pronouns. I like to remember this just to mix things up a little, so I'm not exclusively assuming all picture book characters to be male, which is alas, all too easy to fall into.

Boldt's art is friendly and cheerful, with some funny in-jokes for fans, like a copy of "I don't want to be a stegosaurus!" lying on the floor.

Verdict: Perfect for families looking for new sibling books that don't focus on the negative or assume sibling rivalry from the start. For storytime readers there's plenty of roaring, silly jokes, and dirty diapers. Recommended.

ISBN: 9780399539107; Published 2018 by Dial/Penguin; Review copy provided by publisher; Donated to the library

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