14:14 PB ELEMENTS – Did Dinosaurs Eat People? – ???
Help me, please, with this book.
Did Dinosaurs Eat People?
author, Donna Bowman
illustrator, Marjorie Dumortier
(c) 2010, Picture Window Books
(a division of Capstone)
(1,594 words, AR Reading Level 3.4)
Plot? Not a drop.
Theme? Obscure. Too simple–dinosaurs.
Conflict? Nope. They’re extinct. And so is their conflict.
Pacing? Random…more like browsing on the internet. Or really, more like channel surfing.
Word play? Nah.
No Rhyme. Not even internal.
Really, no Beginning or Ending.
Character? Not much. I mean, there’s meat eaters and veggie lovers.
Dialogue? Roaaarhhh! So much for that.
Don’t get me wrong. The book is clever. I picked it up because the topic has been a favorite since I was 5 and first marveled at a two-page-spread brontosaurus skeleton in the Golden Book Encyclopedia.
So, what’s left? I guess it must be PATTERN. The cleverness I refer to is in the structure of the text. The title clearly declares this story element, which acts as the lure of the book from the outset.
A Q&A approach is bound to intrigue a shelf-browser of any age. Author Bowman has taken “questions kids have about dinosaurs” (clever subtitle) and arranged them in a pattern throughout Dumortier’s fun pen-and-watercolor illustrations with paragraphic answers.
Another clever feature about this approach is that each question is accompanied by a child’s name and age: “Antonio, age 8” “Sara, age 6” “Hollister, age 7” Even some questions are listed from schools: “How did dinosaurs go to the bathroom? Partin Elementary School.”
This pattern of questions and answers (questions I suppose from real kids and real schools) is the hook and draw for this book.
Not to mention that the illustrations are fun–there’s comedy in every scene (another form of pattern). A tyrannosaurus on page nine holds his nose standing beside a stinky pile of diplodocus poop. (Must have been those ferns.)
Not surprising, this is one in a group of trade non-fiction books, the Kids’ Questions series by the producer. I’m sure the other titles employ the same pattern technique.
What are some other ways this Q&A pattern could be applied? Would this pattern be better if accompanied by pictures of the kids asking the questions? How could this pattern play out in digital books or apps? Let me know what you think in your comments.
Meanwhile, watch where you step. You may be walking where diplodocuses have plod.
(See a list of other reviewers posts in Christi’s latest post at Write Wild.)