If You Happen to Have a Dinosaur by Linda Bailey and Colin Jack

One delightful aspect of children’s pictures books is that that impossibilities become possible.

In If You Happen to Have a Dinosaur by Linda Bailey and illustrated by Colin Jack (Tundra Books, May 2014), the illustrator and author create a number of what ifs out of the impossibility of actually having a dinosaur as a pet.

It is not just a story of one dinosaur and kid having adventures (such as in Danny and the Dinosaur). Likewise, it is not an instructional manual on how to live with a dinosaur as a pet (I am strongly reminded of How to Train Your Train).

Instead, If You Happen to Have a Dinosaur is a collection of illustrated scenarios for many different kinds of dinosaurs.Each page features a different kind of dinosaur helping in an unusual way (which could be a usual way if we had dinosaurs, of course). For example, your dinosaur would make a great alarm to deter burglars. Some dinosaurs may be a great umbrella for the extra rainy days, or maybe a diving board or slide for friends in the summer time.

The illustrator is an animator, so the illustrations come alive. Although each page is small snapshot of a larger situation, the funny and colorful cartoons seem to bring dinosaurs into our world.

The result is a delightful romp into our imaginations: the what ifs of dinosaurs existing with humans. These pages are all assuming, of course, that the dinosaurs are willing to become our pets.

This book was such a hit with six-year-old Raisin that a few days after we read it together, he said, wistfully, “Mom, I wish dinosaurs were still alive today.”

What is your favorite book about dinosaurs?

Note: I received a digital review copy from the publisher for review consideration.


  1. says

    I have no favorite book about dinosaurs, which I think speaks to the shortage of dinosaur books in my childhood. Dinosaurs seem like one of those things you have to encounter as a child or else you will never care about them. Which, er, the latter is my situation, I’m ashamed to say.

    • says

      Jenny, I don’t really remember dinosaur books in my childhood either. But I’m so glad my son is finally expanding his interests beyond trains a little now!