May 2, 2012

How Do Dinosaurs Get Well Soon?

How Do Dinosaurs Get Well Soon?
By Jane Yolen
Illustrated by Mark Teague
No Illustrator Website
3-4 Preschool Primary Blue Sky 40 pp.
978-0439241007 Hardcover $16.99

Second in the popular How Do Dinosaurs... series by Jane Yolen and Mark Teague, How Do Dinosaurs Get Well Soon? follows the same format that worked so well in the original, How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight? And indeed, the question / answer pattern does draw the reader in. What does a dinosaur do when he catches the flu? Does he behave badly, whining as he tosses tissue and medicine all over his room? The answer is no. A dinosaur drinks his juice and gets rest and takes his medicine - just like a human kid should when he's not feeling good. It's a nice guide to behaving well while sick without reverting too heavily towards didacticism.

The dinosaurs are clearly child stand-ins, and they do the job with personality and comedic pizzazz, thanks to Teague's illustrations. Massive next to their human parents, the dinosaurs convey an air of child-like crankiness that resonates emotionally while still being funny. Especially cute is the Shakespearean drama with which they blow their noses, (especially nice is the Styracosaurus who gets forcibly dragged to the doctor by his mom). A nice touch, as always, is the variety of dinosaurs Teague uses. You'll find old, familiar stand-bys like Brachiosaurus in addition to a nice selection of lesser known dinos, like Gallimimus and Carnotaurus. The featured dinos also make a cast appearance on the endpapers with names clearly labeled beneath them. Yolen's rhyming text is fun and accessible, though a bit awkward at times, especially towards the end. Still, it doesn't detract from the overall success of the book, which will surely appeal to preschoolers, both sick and well, at story times and at home. As an added bonus, How Do Dinosaurs Get Well Soon? will likely appeal to parents who recognize their own children in the book's cranky protagonists.

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