Reviews for When Dinosaurs Die : A Guide to Understanding Death


Horn Book Guide Reviews 1996
In a style and format similar to that in [cf2]Dinosaurs Divorce[cf1] (Little), the Browns have created a practical, sensitive discussion of death for young children. The text is clear and straightforward, and the cartoonish illustrations, complete with speech balloons and touches of humor, extend and lighten it without becoming disrespectful. This useful tool is a complement to the available picture books on the subject. Glos. Copyright 1998 Horn Book Guide Reviews

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Horn Book Magazine Reviews 1996 #5
Using a similar style and format to Dinosaurs Divorce, the Browns have created a practical and sensitive discussion of death for young children. The text covers a range of topics, including "What Does Dead Mean?" "Feelings about Death," and "Keeping Customs." The information covers both the secular and the religious and details several different traditions. A final section, "Ways to Remember Someone," gives the reader practical suggestions so a "person can always be a part of you." The book closes with a glossary to explain unfamiliar words. The text is clear and straightforward, and the cartoony illustrations of personified dinosaurs, complete with speech balloons and touches of humor, extend and lighten the text without becoming disrespectful. This is a useful tool and a complement to the many picture books that provide a fictional approach to the subject. m.v.k. Copyright 1998 Horn Book Magazine Reviews

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Kirkus Reviews 1996 February
~ In the newest title in their sensible, upbeat self-help series, the Browns (Dinosaurs to the Rescue, 1992, etc.) take on the subject of death. Crowded cartoons plunge right in, with terse explanations of what it means to be living and how death is part of the cycle. Any philosophical bent soon gives way to illustrations showing a hospital patient hooked up to tubes, premature babies too small to survive, and accident victims (complete with EMS vehicles and IVs), as well as loss of life in war, as the result of social problems, and through suicide. Confusing for a picture-book audience may be the juxtaposition, in one spread, of play with a toy gun--``Bang, bang. You're dead''--with a real dead bird. Feeling, funerals, reincarnation, resurrection, sitting shivah--the few things that don't make it into the text (autopsy, wake) can be found in the glossary. The coverage sometimes raises more questions than it answers (a youngster worries about family finances, only to be soothed by a parent), but just as Dinosaurs Divorce (1986) stressed the continuing love between parents and children, this book, too, has at its center a positive message: Grieve, and go on with living. (Picture book/nonfiction. 4-8) Copyright 1999 Kirkus Reviews

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Kirkus Reviews 1996 March
~ In the newest title in their sensible, upbeat self-help series, the Browns (Dinosaurs to the Rescue, 1992, etc.) take on the subject of death. Crowded cartoons plunge right in, with terse explanations of what it means to be living and how death is part of the cycle. Any philosophical bent soon gives way to illustrations showing a hospital patient hooked up to tubes, premature babies too small to survive, and accident victims (complete with EMS vehicles and IVs), as well as loss of life in war, as the result of social problems, and through suicide. Confusing for a picture-book audience may be the juxtaposition, in one spread, of play with a toy gun--``Bang, bang. You're dead''--with a real dead bird. Feeling, funerals, reincarnation, resurrection, sitting shivah--the few things that don't make it into the text (autopsy, wake) can be found in the glossary. The coverage sometimes raises more questions than it answers (a youngster worries about family finances, only to be soothed by a parent), but just as Dinosaurs Divorce (1986) stressed the continuing love between parents and children, this book, too, has at its center a positive message: Grieve, and go on with living. (Picture book/nonfiction. 4-8) Copyright 1999 Kirkus Reviews

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 1996 April #1
Aided again by the amiable dinos from Dinosaurs to the Rescue! and Dinosaurs Divorce, the Browns tackle perhaps their toughest subject to date. Using the frank yet reassuring tack employed in the previous books, the author presents a balanced, comprehensive and age-appropriate explanation of why death occurs and other such issues, and suggests sensible, specific tactics for coping with the resulting loneliness, fright and anger. At the same time, she wisely leaves room for a child's individual response, acknowledging that with the death of a loved one, be it a pet or a parent, "there is no right or wrong way to feel." Equally wisely, she defers some explanations to other adults. For example, after an array of dinosaur characters offers different beliefs on what happens after death, she advises readers, "If you have questions about it, ask your family or your religious leader." Marc Brown's typically busy art contains uplifting details and comical asides, yet does not whitewash the subject matter; one particularly wrenching scenario shows a young dino kneeling at her bed, saying, "Please, God, let Daddy be alive again. I want him back." These astute collaborators provide a commendable service for grieving children and the adults in their lives. Ages 4-8. (Apr.) Copyright 1996 Cahners Business Information.

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School Library Journal Reviews 1996 April
PreS There are certain subjects that, if not to be trivialized, need to be shown a certain amount of respect. In this book about what death is and the various ways of dealing with it, the dinosaur characters that were so enjoyable in the collaborators' Dinosaurs Travel (Little, 1988) come off as almost horrifyingly blasť. The author does stress the need for children to talk about death and the feelings that accompany the loss of a loved one, but the book's structure is flawed to a ruinous level. One moment the dinos are burying a pet hamster in the yard, and the next page shows the family trooping off to grandpa's funeral. Since all of the characters look similar, children may become easily confused. Even worse, some readers may find it offensive that the death of an animal isn't differentiated from that of a loved human being. Also, the illustrations are a problem. Somehow, bright and cheerful dinosaurs with cartoon dialogue balloons are not suited to the subject. There are many better titles on death for this age group, including Norma Simon's The Saddest Time (Albert Whitman, 1986) and Janice Cohn's I Had a Friend Named Peter (Morrow, 1987). Melissa Hudak, North Suburban District Library, Roscoe, IL School Library Journal Reviews

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