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Ten Little Dinosaurs - Pattie Schnetzler
Member Name: broxi3781
Ten Little Dinosaurs - Pattie Schnetzler
Advantages: Fun google eyes, familiar rhyme, teaches counting.
Disadvantages: Some parents may object to the dinosaurs playing in traffic.
Counting is one of those things I have never taught my children. It just seems that it is one of those things that they pick up on their own. But while I don't actively teach them to count - I do count things with them and keep a good selection of counting books. This one was already a bit too easy by the time we bought it, as it only goes up to 10, but it is also one of the most fun counting books we have, and easily doubles as bedtime story.
What makes this book unique is the addition of two large googley eyes. These are weighted so that they will face up. When the book is closed the eyeballs face outwards as shown. As you open the over you can see the eyeballs turn around - and a bit of movement can make it appear as if the dinosaur is actually watching you. All of the subsequent pages have two holes for the eyeballs to peer through - or you can have a bit of fun and hold the book up to your face and make all sorts of dinosaur noises. Of course no one knows what dinosaurs sounded like - which leaves us free to make up our own sounds - everything from roars and growls to long drawn out conversations from the Saurolophus.
This book begins like the 10 little monkeys rhyme, but instead of monkeys we have dinosaurs, in this case, 10 little Pachycephalosaurus jumping on the bed. Pachycephalosaurus are the ones with a very thick dome shaped skull with wee spikes around it. When the inevitable accident occurs - the doctors says "No more boneheads bouncing on the bed.
As we count down from 10, each number has a different species. Rather than each page showing them jumping on the bed, the author has introduced some variety to the story with a number of different activities including 9 dinosaurs on one bike, playing in traffic and arguing with an umpire. Each set of pages has 4 rhyming lines and a nick name for the species pictured - often insulting like "big mouths" and "nut brains". The verses fit into the rhythm of the original 10 Little monkeys rhyme, giving this an immediate familiarity, and making it a very pleasant book to read or listen to. The dinosaurs featured in this book are as follows: Pachycephalosaurus, Stegosaurus, T Rex, Spinosaurus, Archaeopteryx , Ankylosaurus, Supersaurus, Chasmosaurus, Saurolophus and Triceratops. Of course Archaeopteryx is not really a dinosaur, but is a pterosaur, but this book isn't really meant to be a serious science book so I can almost overlook that one.
The illustrations are cute and engaging, but very anthropomorphic. Some of the dinosaurs even wear clothes, many of them are drinking bottles of cola and some have sweets and hot dogs. There is also a lovely illustrated glossary in the back with each dinosaurs name, the correct pronunciation and a few facts about the species. While I have no problem with Archaeopteryx being called a dinosaur in the story - I feel that they should have mentioned that it is not really a dinosaur in the glossary, but this is a minor grumble. Overall I find the glossary a wonderful addition which will help children learn just a little bit about the different species which appear in the book. I can see where some parents might not like the page.
I've known the odd parent who might object to too much junk food being featured in this book, but personally I am not fussed by things like this. I suppose if you are one of those parents who is very strongly against junk food you could tell them that's why dinosaurs are extinct. I can also see where parents might object to the section where ankylosaurs are playing in the street charging cars and running into traffic. This is presented as a naughty thing to do though and concerned parents can explain that ankylosaurs are heavily armoured unlike children and discuss why we should not play in the street if they wish.
My oldest son(7) is really too old for this book, but it hasn't stopped him from playing with this and having fun. My youngest on the other hand loves it. He has great fun listening to this at night, jumping on the bed like the dinosaurs, roaring and pretending to be each one - or just playing with the google eyes. I have a personal theory that children need to play with books, explore them and just have fun with them as part of developing literacy. This is certainly a book that will encourage children to lift it up and have fun.
I only paid £2.28 for this book used, and Amazon currently has more at this price, but even at Amazon's full asking price of £8.99 I think this book would money well spent. It really is a wonderful book for children, and I feel it would make a wonderful book for babies as well as young children. I'm sure an infant would love the eyes and eye holes. The pages are paper, but a very good thick paper and the eyes feel very secure. It is reasonably sturdy but if bought for a baby - I still feel parental involvement would not only be neccesary to make the book fun - but also required for safety. I honestly do not know if a baby could get the eyes out and choke on one, but being uncertain what size items are safe I always prefer to error on the side of caution.
Summary: A wonderfully fun book that has good educational value as well.
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