The Children’s Book Review | July 9, 2014
If You Happen To Have A Dinosaur
Written by Linda Bailey
Illustrated by Colin Jack
Age Range: 3-7 years
Paperback: 40 pages
Publisher: Tundra Books (May 13, 2014)
What to expect: Humor, Surprises, Wit, Dinosaurs!
This book offers an imaginative twist on children’s abiding love of dinosaurs: What if you happen to have one in your living room, or out in your yard – What uses could you put it to? The funny and surprising uses writer Linda Bailey puts these dinosaurs to, from can opener, to book mark, to foot stool, will keep young readers (and listeners) laughing and turning the pages. In addition, the conditional phrase, “If you happen to…” offers a nice introduction to hypothetical situations and the unlimited imaginings that can go along with them. Especially when dinosaurs are involved!
Rather than proceed along any particular narrative path, the text moves through a series of connected scenes, presenting various surprising locations for dinosaurs, and their equally surprising uses in them. “If you happen to have a dinosaur, lying around your living room, and you don’t know what to do with it…maybe you could use it as a can opener,” accompanies an image of a child using the horn of a smiling triceratops for this very purpose, while the claim that “some dinosaurs make excellent kites,” is accompanied by an image of several pterodactyls flying at the ends of kite strings. But, the book warns, not all dinosaurs are good for flying, and some make terrible babysitters – it’s all about finding the function that fits.
Colin Jack’s bright, cartoon-like (in the best sense) illustrations provide a good deal of the charm and humor of the book. In more than the usual sense, these pictures truly bring the book alive, creating characters out of dinosaurs, and making the imaginative scenarios not only tangible but also doubly charming in their bright, playful renderings. Children will enjoy looking closely at the drawing, which are quite nuanced, and will find new wit on multiple viewings. Together the text and illustrations create a wonderful road into further imaginings of the many surprising uses that dinosaurs offer… if you happen to have one lying around.
Add this book to your collection: If You Happen To Have A Dinosaur, by Linda Bailey
About the Author
Award-winning author LINDA BAILEY has written more than twenty books for children in a number of different genres, including the best-selling Stanley-the-dog series, The Farm Team, the Stevie Diamond Mysteries, the Good Times Travel Agency series, and most recently, Toads on Toast, also illustrated by Colin Jack. Known for her wonderful sense of humor, evident in almost all her stories, Linda has garnered a long list of honors in both Canada and the United States such as the Ontario Blue Spruce Award, the Atlantic Provinces Hackmatack Award, the Arthur Ellis Award (Crime Writers of Canada), the California Young Reader Medal, and the Georgia Storybook Award. For more information, visit: www.lindabaileybooks.com.
About the Illustrator
COLIN JACK is the incredibly talented illustrator of several books for children including the Galaxy Zack series, Toads on Toast and 1 Zany Zoo. He also works as a story artist and character designer at Dreamworks, and has been involved in such productions as Hotel Transylvania, Grossology and Ed, Edd n Eddy.
If You Happen to Have a Dinosaur, by Linda Bailey and Colin Jack, was reviewed by Trevor Jockims. Follow along with our book reviews and articles tagged with Dinosaurs, and our Animal Books, Humor, and Picture Books categories to discover more great kids books.