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

Note: I occasionally accept review copies from the publisher. Posts written from review copies are labeled. All opinions are my own. Posts may contain affiliate links. I may receive compensation for any purchased items.

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.

Reviewed on June 11, 2014

About the author 

Rebecca Reid

Rebecca Reid is a homeschooling, stay-at-home mother seeking to make the journey of life-long learning fun by reading lots of good books. Rebecca Reads provides reviews of children's literature she has enjoyed with her children; nonfiction that enhances understanding of educational philosophies, history and more; and classical literature that Rebecca enjoys reading.

  • 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.

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