One delightful aspect of children’s picture books is that the 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 a 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 summertime.
The illustrator is an animator, so the illustrations come alive. Although each page is a 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 my six-year-old son 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.