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November 29, 2018

Jurassic Book Crunch – 13 Fun Reads for Little Dinosaur Fans

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Discover 13 great books about dinosaurs recommended by the Brighter Readers Book Crew!

Did you know birds are modern, feathered dinosaurs? Or that writers and illustrators can make anything possible with some imagination and storytelling? Kids love the myths and the scientific truths about our long-extinct favorite animals — and this book list is all about dinosaurs!

We asked members of our Brighter Readers Book Crew to share their favorite books about dinosaurs with us. Check our list out and share your favorite reads with us in the comments!

Vicki Lehman is a professional development specialist at Child Care Answers. She has a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education and spent her first seven years out of college teaching in a pre-k classroom. Some of her favorite books are by Dr. Seuss. These are her picks:

How Do Dinosaurs Say Good Night?

by Jane Yolen (author), Mark Teague (illustrator)
Best for:
three-year-olds, four-year-olds, five-year-olds

In this funny story, dinosaurs behave a lot like people. How do dinosaurs say good night? One way to find out is by seeing how eleven different dinosaur kids get ready for sleepy time. The bedroom illustrations also give readers a chance to play and find the name of each species spelled out somewhere in the bedroom.

“Young children tend to be drawn to dinosaurs. This book is great because some of the behaviors the dinosaurs display in the book may be things children do as well when it is time to go to bed. In the end, the dinosaurs get all tucked in and rest but they all go about it in different ways. This would be great to read right before bed time – this gives children the chance to hear a silly story while also starting to calm their bodies and get ready to rest.”

After you read: Ask, “how do YOU say good night?” “How do you think your friends say good night?”

Lisa Land is the mother of two awesome little boys! These are her picks:

Bones, Bones, Dinosaur Bones

by Byron Barton
Best for:
infants, one-year-olds, two-year-olds, three-year-olds, four-year-olds, five-year-olds, school age, read along with pre-school and pre-K

Six paleontologists search for bones in this rhythmic science story. When they find them, they dig them up, wrap them and load them on a truck, bound for the museum. With simple text and vibrant illustrations, your little scientist can explore the process of finding and assembling bone fossils.

After you read: Ask, “what special skill do you think people who find dinosaurs have?” “Do you think there are still many more dinosaurs to find?”


by Gail Gibbons
Best for:
three-year-olds, four-year-olds, five-year-olds, school-age

A giant meteor blasts an enormous crater into Earth’s surface, causing the end of what scientists call the Age of Dinosaurs. Gail Gibbons presents recent theories about the history of dinosaurs. She discusses the Triassic, Jurassic, and Cretaceous periods. And the non-bird dinosaurs that lived during each time.

“This is a little deeper into the topic of different dinosaurs, but not over the head of young children. My three-year-old loves this book right now.”

After you read: Ask, “what do you think dinosaurs sounded like?”

Mynda Cruz is a youth librarian at Tippecanoe County Public Library. These are her picks:

Tyrannosaurus Rex vs. Edna the Very First Chicken

by Douglas Rees (author), Jed Henry (illustrator)
Best for:

“First, this story is about a t-rex — which is the favorite dinosaur of most kids. Then, to put him up against a chicken just comes across as silly. Edna, however, is not going to accept that T-Rex has the right to eat her or any other creature. And thus the battle is on.”

After you read: Ask, “do you think other chickens can be like Edna?” “What is something that scares you that you can conquer like Edna?”

Lindsay Hadley is a former SCAD professor, turned design director for Pattern Magazine — proud mama of #MiloLisko and the cutest Labradoodle you ever did see. These are her picks:

We Don’t Eat Our Classmates

by Ryan T. Higgins
Best for:
three-year-olds, four-year-olds, five-year-olds

“I bought this book three days before a classmate bit my 3-year-old. On the bottom. (Don’t ask.) I bought it preemptively, because I knew there was someone struggling with biting in Milo’s class, and I wanted Milo to learn to be patient with him. That’s the beauty of this book. It teaches empathy in such a lovely way. The dinosaur, Penelope, is excited for her first day of school. But then she realizes that her classmates are children — and children are delicious! Teachable moments, illustrated beautifully, ensue. Penelope eventually understands how her classmates feel, and she changes her behavior. It’s just delightful.”

After you read: Ask, “has someone ever been bitten in your classroom?” “How can teachers help kids not bite each other?”

Brittany Fortman is a mom of two and the manager of communications and engagement at Early Learning Indiana. These are her picks:

How Do Dinosaurs Say I Love You?

by Jane Yolen (author), Mark Teague (illustrator)
Best for:
two-year-olds, three-year-olds, four-year-olds

Even when little dinosaurs are naughty, it’s important to remind them that, no matter what they do, they are always loved. In this book, readers will laugh aloud as parents cope with the typical antics of childhood, but in the end, hugs and kisses show your little one how much you care.

“This book series is great for the Dino-loving preschool crowd! The I Love You one in particular is great for teaching children how to show love and kindness.”

After you read: Ask,” how can you say I love you without words?”

Oh Say Can You Say Di-no-saur?: All About Dinosaurs (Cat in the Hat’s Learning Library)

by Bonnie Worth (author), Steve Haefele (illustrator)
Best for:
four-year-olds, five-year-olds, school age, read along with pre-school and pre-K

The Cat in the Hat makes another surprise appearance at Dick and Sally’s house — only this time he makes his entrance riding atop a brachiosaurus! Soon, he’s off, along with Dick and Sally, millions of years back in time to see how fossils were created. Then it’s on to a tour through the Cat’s own Super Dino Museum — a fabulous place where the correct pronunciation of a dinosaur’s name wins you a peek at the real living thing!

“This book is a great introduction to dinosaurs and has just enough details without being really long.”

After you read: Ask,” what would YOU have named these dinosaurs?” “What name is the hardest to say?”

Little Kids First Big Book of Dinosaurs (First Big Book)

by Catherine D. Hughes (author), Franco Tempesta (illustrator)
Best for:
four-year-olds, five-year-olds, school age, read along with pre-school and pre-K

Bursting with fun facts and age-appropriate information, each spread features a different dinosaur, along with simple text in big type that is perfect for little kids.

“Serious dinosaur fans will love this book. With over 100 pages of dinosaurs with facts and realistic pictures of each one, your child will become a dino expert. It also has helpful pronunciations for parents who aren’t paleontologists.”

After you read: Ask, “what are your favorite facts about dinosaurs?” “Which dinosaur is your favorite?”

Shirley Mullin is a teacher and librarian. She owns and operates Kids Ink, Children’s Bookstore. These are her picks:

Tyrannosaurus Wrecks!

by Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen (author), Zachariah OHora (illustrator)
Best for:
three-year-olds, four-year-olds, five-year-olds, school age, read along with pre-school and pre-K

In this read-along picture book, a classroom full of young dinosaurs plays with toys, does art projects, and reads books. But each activity is another opportunity for Tyrannosaurus Rex to wreak havoc. Parents and young children will love the call-and-response nature of the book, and young dinosaur fans will appreciate the listing (and pronunciation guide) for a dozen different dino species. The format is extra vertical in order to accommodate T. Rex’s biggest messes.

After you read: Ask, “why do you think Tyrannosaurus Rex is so messy?” “What would a book about a neat Tyrannosaurus Rex look like?”

Dinosaur Rap (Barefoot Books Singalongs)

by Fellow and Tutor in Philosophy John Foster (author), Debbie Harter (contributor), Mikey Henry Jr (contributor), Geoffrey Nielsen (contributor)
Best for:
two-year-olds, three-year-olds, four-year-olds, five-year-olds, read along with pre-school and pre-K

This book is a fun and rhythmic introduction to the Triassic, Jurassic, and Cretaceous eras. With colorful artwork and comprehensive text by a dinosaur expert, kids are sure to learn the facts about dinosaurs. This book also includes a musical recording by popular rapper, Mike Henry, Jr. Simultaneous.

After you read: Ask, “what are other things you have learned through singing songs?”

There’s a Dinosaur on the 13th Floor

by Wade Bradford (author), Kevin Hawkes (illustrator)
Best for:
four-year-olds, five-year-olds, school-age

Will Mr. Snore ever get some shut-eye at the busy Sharemore Hotel? The room on the first floor is too noisy. Then, the room on the second floor is too crowded. What’s more, the room on the third floor is too damp. Everywhere Mr. Snore goes, with a dutiful bellhop leading the way, he encounters something that’s bound to keep him awake. Why is it so hard to find some peace and quiet? Perhaps Mr. Snore will have better luck on the thirteenth floor.

After you read: Ask, “who is the sleepiest person in our house?” “Who do you think can snore the loudest?”

The Truth About Dinosaurs

by Guido Van Genechten
Best for:
five-year-olds, school-age

Everyone knows that dinosaurs are extinct. But are they really? What if we told you that they’re still alive and that some of them even live among us! Do you need proof? Well, here is an authentic photo album from a long, long time ago that’s now being shared for the very first time. Discover the long-withheld truth in this incredible but true story about dinosaurs.

After you read: Look through photo albums and talk about your family stories.

The Dinosaur Expert (Mr. Tiffin’s Classroom Series)

by Margaret McNamara (author), G. Brian Karas (illustrator)
Best for:
four-year-olds, five-year-olds, school-age

During a field trip to the natural history museum, Kimmy is thrilled to share what she knows about the Stegosaurus and the Archaeopteryx, and even the ginormous Titanosaurus. That changes when one of her classmate's questions whether girls can be paleontologists. Join Mr. Tiffin’s class as they learn about dinosaurs big and small, feathered and scaly, winged and ocean-dwelling. And root for Kimmy, the dinosaur expert…who might just learn something about herself.

After you read: Visit a museum and discuss the different experts that help make museums possible.

Brighter Readers Book Crew is a group of early education professionals, child advocates, parents, and book-loving experts that want to share their love of stories and books with families all across the state. Want to share the books you love and why you think they are great? Send a message to with the subject line Book Crew.

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