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Dinos Don’t Give Up!

Authored by Smriti Halls
Illustrated by Richard Merritt
Published by Little Tiger

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Dinah is an unflinchingly talented diplodocus, who excels at everything she turns her dino-claws to. Dinos Don’t Give Up! is the tale of her very first encounter with failure during a surfing competition that arrives unexpectedly in Dino Town.

Written by prolific picture book writer Smriti Halls, the plot uses a similarly energetic rhyming scheme as other favourites of hers such as Don’t Call Me Sweet and I’m Sticking with You. The bouncy pace helps to drive the plot forward and will certainly captivate an Early Years audience. However, it is the illustrations that really make this picture book stand out from the crowd. Richard Merritt’s technicolour drawings spring from the page and ensure this dinosaur-themed book has something else to offer in a crowded market.

Alongside dinosaur tales, stories of resilience are also a mainstay of the Early Years classroom. This book is another useful addition to sit alongside such classics as Giraffes Can’t Dance and How to Catch a Star. However, whilst those titles lead us towards endings that suggest the benefit of resilience and a growth mindset to help us to improve, Dinos Don’t Give Up takes a slightly different tack. It is true that Dinah does not give up at the end of this story, but neither does she noticeably get any better. Instead, the message is about accepting there are always going to be things you are not the best at, and that there is joy to be had in ‘picking up yourself again and simply having fun’.

With the updated EYFS early learning goals placing the spotlight on how we can best support children to self-regulate, this picture book will provide a helpful starting point for discussion about managing feelings. There is a valuable articulation of the physical feelings associated with failure as Dinah copes with ‘a flutter in her tummy and a THUMPING in her chest’ by having a little cry and ‘a GREAT big dino-cuddle’. The life of small children is full of ups and downs and having another role model for what to do when things don’t go to plan is certainly no bad thing.