Wednesday, May 12, 2010

How Do Dinosaurs Say I Love You? by Jane Yolen

Pages: 29
Ages: 2+
Publication: Already Available
Illustrations by : Mark Teague

In this rhyming story, different dinosaurs behave badly for their human parents, but the humans love them despite their misbehavior.  The dinosaurs experience the same things a human child might, such as waking up grumpy and throwing sand at the playground.  The human parents are disappointed, but know that the rewards of a smile or a hug are just around the corner and misbehavior is not enough of a reason to leave/stop loving someone.

This story has a simpler and less diverse vocabulary than some of Yolen's other rhyming stories, but remains fitting for her intended younger audience.  The concept of this story is also a little simpler than Yolen's other works, again because of intended audience.

Yolen presents the concept of misbehavior and unconditional love with simple honesty.  I like that dinosaurs, not children, are the subjects of the book because Yolen takes the "blame" and guilt away from the child as a reader and projects it onto the dinosaurs--an important technique.  Instead of feeling accused, the child will feel empathy for both the dinosaur and the parent.  Also, in seeing the parents still love the dinosaurs after they are bad, young readers can relate the book-parent's unconditional love to their own parents. 

Teague helps the story with big, bright dinosaur pictures and wonderful background details. Since the book is aimed at younger audiences, Teague adds enough details to make the scene look real, but not overwhelm the eye of the younger reader.  Those readers interested in the illustrations will find the dinosaurs' bedrooms interesting and the playground details fun to decipher.  Teague focuses on the dinosaurs in each scene by placing them in the foreground, drawing the readers eye away from open spaces, and coloring the dinosaurs brightly.  The dinosaurs don't look scary, but aren't too "cartoony" either.  It is a perfect balance for the younger readers.
How Do Dinosaurs Say I Love You? is a good lesson presented in a gently way--a must have for every loving household.

Rating: 4 and 1/2 Pages

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