Reviews /

Have You Seen Dinosaur?

Authored by David Barrow
Illustrated by avid Barrow
Published by Gecko Press

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Readers who loved Have You Seen Elephant? will delight in this second hide and seek adventure by David Barrow, where a boy, with the elephant he found in the last book, and a little dog, go looking for dinosaurs. There will be a lot of giggles, chuckles and shouts as readers follow the pair searching through the city and missing the dinosaur on every page. Visiting the museum they hide behind the columns of the entrance, not noticing that two of them are green and have toenails! Going down the escalator on the underground there’s a long tail draping the up escalator, completely unobserved, and the charms of the skate park divert attention away from a large green newspaper reader on a bench. And what are the curves and halfpipes of the skate park made of? Each turn of the page means a close search for a dinosaur and on the final double spread there are plenty to spot; I counted eight, but may well have missed some.

The joy of this book lies in the interplay between the dead-pan words on the page: ‘None here. Let’s keep looking.’, the images and the reader’s engagement with the search.  At the skate park, as children ride up and over the dinosaur’s back and tail, one of the children says, ‘No dinosaurs here, little dude.’ but children (and adults) reading the book know more than they do! But the humour of the illustrations doesn’t just lie in the delicious game of hide and seek, but in tiny details: the pigeon that has followed them through the city sitting in a skating boot happily riding round the park accompanied by the dog; a picture of a pop singer superimposed on the dinosaur’s head; the passengers on the underground who seem more astounded at seeing an elephant in the carriage than the dinosaur on the platform. The colours are muted and washed, the city scenes with pedestrians as shadowy ghosts in contrast with the boy, the elephant, the dog and the pigeon – and, of course, the dinosaur. All the pages are filled with colour until white space builds the excitement of the gradual realisation that the hill they are about to climb… page turn… is… another page turn… and everyone – child, elephant dog, pigeon and all the young readers – shout out  ‘Dinosaur!’ This is a book to share time and again with readers from two or three upwards who won’t get tired of dinosaur hide and seek.