Just Imagine

Dino Dinners

About the Authors

Mick Manning and Brita Granstrom have won numerous awards for their wonderful picture information books, which include the English Association Award and Smarties Silver Award. Their most recent books include: The Beatles, Roman Fort, What Mr Darwin Saw and Secrets of Stonehenge. They have four sons and live in the North of England and Sweden.

About the Book

It’s dino-dinnertime but who eats what, and who eats who? How do we know what dinosaurs ate? Who hunted as a team? Who ate with their head in the treetops, and who ate absolutely anything they could find? Discover exactly what is on the menu, as you are invited to attend this dinner party with a difference!

Dinosaurs are always a popular topic with children and Dino-Dinners is a cut above other dino books.The dinosaurs introduce themselves with a description of their characteristics and there are fact boxes at the sides. Clever integration of text and pictures and different writing styles. There is scope for vocabulary and language study providing challenge for children in years 2 and 3.

Before Reading


The following would be useful for comparison when reading the book:

  • A timeline going back to the prehistoric age. There are plenty of examples online. Use this to pin point when specific dinosaurs lived but also to give a sense of comparative time from the present day. As you read about each new dinosar you can stick a cutout of the dinosaur on the timeline.
  • A metre rule and the classroom measured in metres. Do this with the children.
  • A few kilos of sugar, for comparative weight activities.


Circle Map

There are likely to be some dinosaur enthusiasts in the group or class. Prior to reading, allow the children to connect their prior knowledge to the topic.

A Circle Map is a basic Thinking Map (David Hyerle, 2008)

The Circle map is used to help us define and show our understanding of a topic. We use this to generate ideas, assess what we already know, and what we have learned.
Around the outside  of the circle is a rectangular box. This is called the “frame of reference.” Here we can write how we know what we know. Did someone teach us? Did we experience it? Did we
read/see something about it?


  1. In the centre circle write the topic (Dinosaur DInners).
  2. In the large circle,brainstorm all of your thoughts about this topic. You can write or draw your ideas.
  3. The rectangular  box around the outside is your “frame of reference.” Write how you know what you know. Did you see a television programme, watch a film, visit a museum?


Dino-Dinners includes some technical tier 3 vocabulary (Isabel Beck et al ) which can be pre-taught. (e.g. carnivore, herbivore, omnivore, predator, prey).

Although these technical words may seem difficult, many children are fascinated by dinosaurs know what a carnivore is. This sequence uses that pre-exisiting knowledge to build some early awareness of morphology. The aim is to  show children how knowing a root for a word can often help us understand other words.

Ask the children if they know what a carnivore is. (Carnivore means flesh-eating animal). Use colour highlighters to show the structure of the word. Carni is meat and vore is added to mean eating.

Now write these words on the board:

  • omnivore
  • herbivore
  • insectivore

What do they have in common? Invite a volunteer to underline the bit that each of the words has in common. Make the point that if a carnivore is a flesh eating animal,  therefore these words must be used to describe animals that eat other things.

in pairs, ask them to work out what they they think the animals eat. Use a dictionary to find the correct definitions. Write them on cards or a large sheet of paper and display on a working wall.

Alternatively, provide a set of cards for the children to match definitions with the word.

Eats plants
Eats plants and meat
Eats insects
Eats meat


During Reading

Looking for evidence

Start a table and log scientific evidence that gives us clues as to what the dinosaurs ate. Add new information as you encounter new evidence.

A scientist who studies fossils is called a paleontologist.

Dinosaur What they ate Clues/ Evidence that paleontologists have found



What clues can you find on this page that tell us how paleontologists worked out what an Oviraptor might have eaten? ( ‘Using its strong beak’  Fossils provide information about the structure of the dinosaur’s body which helps us work out what food they could eat).

What does the text in brackets tell you? (oh-vee-rap-tor). (Pronunciation. Make the point that dictionaries often include a pronunciation guide). Use the pronunciation in subsequent chapters to help you pronounce the names of the dnosaurs together.


Use the pronunciation guide to read the name together.

What do we learn about the way this dinosaur moved? Can you find a verb to describe its movement? (trundle)

Can you think of any alternative words which would be a good description for this dinosaur’s movement:  (e.g lumbering, stomping, crashing, thumping).

Why don’t the predators want to risk broken bones? (You may need to explain that when humans break bones doctors can help them to mend. A wild animal cannot hunt for food if it breaks a leg, so it will wekaen and die.).

What does ‘game over‘ mean? Idiomatic language may not be immediately obvious, especially to additional language learners.

How heavy is 30 kilos? How many bags of sugar can you hold? 1? 2? 3? 30 kilos is 15 bags of sugar – and that’s just the weight of the ball on the tail!!

Do you know any modern animals that have armoured backs? (e.g. tortoise, armadillo, woodlouse)

Tyrannosaurus Rex

Enthusiasts in the class might know what the name Tyrannosaurus Rex means (terrible lizard king)

Did you learn anything new about Tyrannosaurus Rex on this page?

What do you think Tyrannosaurus Rex did with its tiny arms? They weren’t much use for catching prey.



What is a ‘veggie’? Make the point that this is an abbreviated and informal version of vegetarian.

Are there any clues on this page that tell us how paleontologists have worked what dinosaurs ate?

How is Triceratops similar to a modern rhino? How is it different?


What is a ‘herd’?

Do you know any modern animals that live in herds? You can use the internet to source pictures of herding animals. (e.g. zebra, antelope, sheep, goats, wildebeest)

Why might is be useful for some animals to live in herds? (safety in numbers, confuses the predator) Some predators live in groups too to make hunting eaiser; Like the next dinosaur in this book.

What words tell us how Edmontosuarus ate its food?


Did you learn anything new from this page?

Can you find a word that tells us that Velociraptor was fast? (sprint).

Do you know any modern animals that hunt in packs (e.g. wolves, hyenas, lions)

What clues have paleontologists found which tell us about the sorts of food Velociraptor might have eaten?


What do we call an animal that eats its own kind? (cannibal)

What clues have paleontologists found about what Coelophysis might have eaten?


Can you find the name of a predator that might have eaten Iguanadon?

Why was Iguanadon smelly?


Does the Baryonyx remind you of a modern animal? (crocodile or bear)

What clues have paleontologists found about what Baryonyx might have eaten?

What does ‘serrated‘ mean? Why do we use serrated knives? (They cut more effectively than most straight-edged knives)


Why do you think Brachiosaurus has two pages?

Can you predict what will happen when you turn the page?

Can you find a word that describes how Brachi0saurus ate its food? (nibble)

After Reading

What are your three favourite dinosaur facts? Compare your favourites with the rest of the group/class.


How do you think the illustrations in this book were made?

Create a display for the classroom in this style. Use a watercolour wash for the background. Children can choose their favourite dinosuars to paint or draw and cut out to put o the frieze.

Information retrieval

Sort the dinosaurs mentioned in this books into this table:

Carnivore Herbivore Omnivore


List the dinosaurs in order of size. (They are measured from nose to tail)




Which of these statements are true?

Some dinosaurs ate members of their own family
Only carnivorous dinosaurs were dangerous
Coelophysis is the smallest dinosaur
All dinosaurs ate plants
Dinosaurs never ate fish


Cut them out and ask the children to sort into piles of true and false.


True False

The way we eat

Make a collection of words used in the book that describe different ways of eating. Add some more words to your list.