Big Book of Aussie Dinosaurs by Kel Richards
Published by Scholastic Australia
From the moment I met 'Banjo' on the first page - armed with his knife and fork and chequered napkin around his neck - I knew I was going to love this Big Book of Aussie Dinosaurs!
Many kids today are fascinated by gadgets and gizmos; their inquisitive minds geared more to the technological workings of modern day life. This is not a bad thing, however when it comes to teaching them important historical facts about life in prehistoric times, it can prove quite the daunting task. Fortunately, Kel Richards and Glen Singleton rose to this challenge and totally nailed it!
Combining humour with historical fact, Kel and Glen have created an engaging and educating read, making this fun book of dinosaur facts truly memorable.
Kel cunningly relates key features of each prehistoric beast with everyday things, thus making it easier for little minds to digest - Cooper the Titanosaur would have been longer than a railway carriage and heavier than 30 cars, while Clancy the Wintonotitan enjoyed feasting on leaves (topped with tomato sauce of course) and was as big as a whale.
Careful not to bamboozle young readers with too much information, Kel often sticks to 2 clear facts per page. These are further emphasized through the clever use of opposites and contrasting colours.
Above all however, it is the humour that I love most about this tale, and I would happily read it over and over again to a curious five year old - the ideal response when creating a factual book about dinosaurs!
Kel uses expressive language to describe the prehistoric beasts; those who stomped and chomped and crashed and clawed their way across Australia, many with teeth the size of bananas; while Glen adds colour and humour to the text, creating creatures that amuse rather than scare. He brings them into our current world, allowing us a glimpse of what life would be like living alongside them. They'd attend choir practice; invite us to their birthday parties - as guests or snacks, depending on their dietary preference! Some would scare off the postman, while others we'd keep as a pet. In imagining these relationships, Glen makes these 'terrible lizards' so very likeable, leaving every reader intrigued and desperate to learn more about them - how they lived, what they looked like and what became of them, all those years ago.
With all this rambling, I fear I have already given too much away! Be it a favourite bed time read, or a very clever classroom tool, this book is big, bold and brilliant. Hats off to Kel and Glen.
CKT Book Reviewer
Author: Kel Richards
Illustrator: Glen Singleton
Title: Big Book of Aussie Dinosaurs
Publisher: Scholastic Australia
Published: Jun 2015