Reviews /

A First Book of Dinosaurs

Authored by Simon Mole
Illustrated by Matt Hunt
Published by Walker Books Ltd

An excitingly illustrated, large picture book full of poetry and information.

The poetry in A First Book of Dinosaurs introduces the reader to some of the impressive creatures which inhabited the pre-historic world. Simon Mole cleverly weaves facts about the dinosaurs into animated poems in a variety of forms. There is a kenning about the baryonyx, an acrostic about the ankylosaurus and haiku about the pterosaurs. Poems written in the voice of the dinosaurs bring them to life and get across their characters as well as their appearance and behaviour. Each poem is wonderfully illustrated by Matt Hunt with bright, colourful pictures showing the dinosaur in action. Together they paint a picture of an energetic and action-packed existence for predators and prey.

The combination of striking illustrations and lively poems make this book stand out amongst the many dinosaur books for children. The poems convey information about the reptiles’ appearance and behaviour in an accessible, entertaining way. The dinosaurs’ expressions lend both personality and humour and they are shown interacting with each other and their environment. The addition of poems about volcanoes, the asteroid, fossil hunting and a chicken put the dinosaurs in context and make links with the present. Each poem and picture leave the readers with lots to talk about.

Children will love exploring the vibrant illustrations in this book, finding their favourites and meeting new dinosaur friends. The characterful faces will appeal to younger readers and older dino fans will enjoy hearing familiar facts in a different form. As part of a dinosaur finding out project, the poems would be a good complement to other dinosaur non-fiction. The poems offer the opportunity to talk about different styles of poetry and could inspire some great poetry writing from the children. It would be well-received read-aloud in class and I will certainly be keeping it by my chair to entertain my Year 1 children.

If you are a dinosaur fan looking for fascinating facts, prehistoric pictures and perfect poems, this is the book for you.