You may have seen Walking with Dinosaurs, but this summer we instead went Reading with Dinosaurs, inspired by the witty new book from Julie Middleton and Russell Ayto, Are the Dinosaurs Dead, Dad?, which is published today.
Reading with Dinosaurs involved setting off to a near-ish-by museum, The Herbert, to see their special exhibition Dinosaurs Uncovered with a rucksack full of dino treats (made with the help of this great cake tin) and our copy of Are the Dinosaurs Dead, Dad?
Reading in unusual places is always a good way to excite kids about books and reading a dinosaur book whilst a “real” dinosaur is breathing down your neck is ESPECIALLY exciting…
Even if you don’t have a dinosaur who can join you at story time, this book is one I think you should track down. For a start it poses questions about whether something which is alive in one’s imagination can ever really be said to be dead; Dad and son are visiting a natural history museum full of dinosaur skeletons and as they walk from exhibit to exhibit the father reassures the son that dinosaurs are indeed dead, long gone, extinct. The young boy is not so sure… One appears to grin at him, another tries to eat his burger. So who’s right? Are dinosaurs done and dusted or could it just be that one or two still live on…
This book hits the spots on lots of counts. Dinosaurs? Check. Laughs? Check. Child outwitting parent? Check. Stylish illustrations? Check. (Russell Ayto has a style all of his own, perhaps best seen in his Captain Flinn and Witch’s’ Children books, but there’s something a little Oliver Jeffers-esque about his drawings in this particular book). The opportunity to ROOOOOOOAAAAAAAARRRRRR? Check. You see? It’s most definitely a book to seek out.
As well as inspiring us to read on location, Are the Dinosaurs Dead, Dad? led us to create our own pet dinosaurs. We hatched these from a few sheets of card, some clothes pegs (clothespins), and a few socks with a little bit of glue and some zig-zag scissors (pinking shears).
Dino heads were drawn on folded-over pieces of card. These were cut out so that for each design there were two matching heads. A cut was made across the middle of the head with the scissors (to create teeth) and the pieces of card were then stuck onto the clothes pegs to create snapping dinosaur heads. Socks went over our hands to create dinosaur bodies and soon these baby dinos were running amok.
Whilst making our gnashing dinosaurs we listened to:
You can find even more dinosaur music in this article from education.com.
Other activities which would be fun to try alongside reading Are the Dinosaurs Dead, Dad? include:
Where’s the craziest place you’ve ever read a book? If you could read a book anywhere, where would you read it?
Disclosure: I received my copy of Are the Dinosaurs Dead, Dad? from the publishers. This review, nevertheless, reflects my own and honest opinion.