Monday, March 15, 2010


Florian, Douglas. 2009. DINOTHESAURUS. New York: Simon & Schuster. ISBN 9781416979784 [Suggested Grade Levels K- 8]

In Florian’s picture book poetry collection, DINOTHESAURUS, we “learn” about 18 different dinosaurs in 18 double-page spreads because Florian is so gifted at injecting facts into his fun and pun-filled poems, including a pronunciation guide and meaning for each dinosaur name. The whole idea of poetry about dinosaur NAMES is so dead-on perfect. Even kids who are not dinosaur fanatics love the long, crazy, complicated names for dinosaurs. And there are unexpected dino-choices like the troodon, minim, and micropachycephalosaurus. Opening and closing poems provide bookend context about dinosaur eras and possible causes for their demise. (Even the bookflap blurb is a dinosaur poem!) One of the best components is the backmatter in this book, including the “Glossarysaurus” with an additional expository paragraph to accompany each poem, an annotated list of “Dinosaur Museums and Fossil Sites” and a “Selected Bibliography and Further Reading” list.

And of course with Douglas Florian we get a double whammy with art that is distinctive and stands on its own (two or four) feet! He employs a wonderful variety of media, including watercolor, crayon, cut paper collage, and rubber stamps. Kids may enjoy trying their own dino-collages to match.


Florian’s poems are so rhythmic and regular that they are perfect for performing chorally with kids. One example that is fun for echo reading is “Stegosaurus.” The leader reads the first line, the kids echo the line, the leader reads the next, they echo, line-by-line—an excellent strategy to use with young kids, non-readers, and English learners. Check out his blog, FlorianCafe.


Other animal poetry collections by Douglas Florian:

ZOO’S WHO. ISBN 978-0152046392

OMNIBEASTS. ISBN 978-0152050382

INSECTLOPEDIA. ISBN 978-0152013066

MAMMALABILIA. ISBN 978-0152021672

By Sylvia M. Vardell

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