Reviews for How Do Dinosaurs Say Happy Chanukah?

Booklist Reviews 2012 September #1
Like the other entries in the popular How Do Dinosaurs series, this amusing picture book has two sections. The first concerns what a dinosaur should not do during the Festival of Lights ("Does he grab up the gelt, squeezing the candy coins till they all melt?"), while the second deals with what he does ("He sings every prayer, takes turns with the dreidel, remembers to share"). Reflecting how young dino-fans might see themselves, the enormous dinosaurs are the only nonhuman (and initially uncivilized) members of the various families depicted in the dramatic double-page paintings. Relatively unfamiliar dinosaur species are featured in the story's illustrations and also on the attractive endpapers, where children will enjoy finding them again. The droll text invites audience participation, while the paintings of enormous, childlike dinosaurs in domestic settings call for laughter. Don't miss Yolen and Teague's simultaneously published and equally satisfying companion volume, How Do Dinosaurs Say Merry Christmas? HIGH-DEMAND BACK STORY: The best-selling, long-running Yolen-Teague series gets a boost with two holiday-themed stories to entice fans and new readers alike. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.

BookPage Reviews 2012 December
'Round the Christmas tree

When our kids were little, one of the traditions of the Christmas season was unpacking the ornaments and books. Yes, books. These books were only for December and were as important to the season as the plastic icicles and handmade tree skirt from Aunt Dee Dee. We added new books every year and, if I still had little children living in my house, I would add several new ones from this year’s crop.

Those looking for books that reflect the biblical Christmas story will not be disappointed. Three veterans are back with their take on the Nativity.

Tomie dePaola’s tender, simple tale will delight young children with a bird’s-eye view of the big day in The Birds of Bethlehem. Talking among themselves, the birds tell of the unusual, strange, spectacular, awesome and miraculous event they see. These adjectives are unveiled as the story develops, building a sense of quiet drama. DePaola’s respectful but accessible illustrations add to the story, making this a book that will be enjoyed over and over again.

When he was bouncing along the roads in Africa, Ashley Bryan thought of Mary and Joseph on the road to Bethlehem and wrote a simple poem that examines the question of Who Built the Stable? Lushly illustrated in gouache and tempera paints, this special volume will encourage readers to imagine some of the lesser players in the story.

Poet Lee Bennett Hopkins and illustrator Stephen Alcorn collaborate for the gentle Mary’s Song. On one hand, this is a love song to new motherhood and, on the other, it’s the familiar story of baby Jesus and his family. Alcorn’s oversized illustrations in cross-hatched mixed media set the perfect tone as the young mother Mary looks for quiet time with her baby boy. Ahh.


Christmas is also about presents and Santa and reindeer—and there are many new books that celebrate this part of the holiday, too!

One of the sweetest is Just Right for Christmas by Birdie Black, illustrated by Rosalind Beardshaw. After finding a sumptuous bolt of red fabric, the king has a lovely cloak sewn for his daughter. The sewing maids leave the scraps outside on the steps where they are found by the kitchen maid, who uses the material to make a jacket for her mother. The scraps are passed on and on until the last little bit is used as a scarf for a mouse. This celebration of generosity and making things by hand feels “just right” for the holidays.

Jane Yolen and Mark Teague have a small cottage industry going with books about dinosaurs. Their two newest are sure to become family favorites: How Do Dinosaurs Say Happy Chanukah? and How Do Dinosaurs Say Merry Christmas? It’s fun to see how Yolen and Teague make connections between these two books (mom is knitting in both, the dinosaurs all kiss their grandparents, etc.) but still give each holiday’s traditions its own spotlight. As always, these dinosaur books are more humor than lesson and are the perfect way for little people to laugh at naughtiness.

Another fabulous dinosaur series is Bob Shea’s Dinosaur vs., which pits a red dinosaur against such adversaries as “bedtime” and “the potty.” This time it’s Dinosaur vs. Santa. The dinosaur is like an energetic preschooler, just learning to control himself. It’s impossible to read this book without laughing. I mean, the dinosaur is wearing all varieties of Christmas sweaters and pajamas! But, of course, that’s not all. Dinosaur growls and roars his way through the joys and jobs of the season: writing to Santa, decorating the tree, being extra good and even going to bed on Christmas Eve. When Dinosaur sneaks downstairs to investigate the sounds of jingle bells, readers will worry right along with him: “Did Santa see you? Will he put you on the Naughty list?” The final reassuring turn of the page answers these important questions.


Santa from Cincinnati, written by Judi Barrett and illustrated by Kevin Hawkes, has the feel of a classic tale that could become a family favorite. Barrett (of Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs fame) cleverly imagines the childhood of Santa Claus, told as a remembrance from Santa himself. In a scene from the hospital nursery, there is smiling baby Claus, wrapped in a bright red blanket, his nose round and red. Every page holds a treat for children who know the story of the grownup Santa. Here we see baby Santa playing with a reindeer and snowman mobile, and later we see family pictures celebrating his first words (“ho, ho, ho”), first steps (in dad’s big black boots) and favorite snack (cookies). It’s hard to imagine a Christmas-crazy kid not falling hard for this one . . . and imagining the childhoods of other holiday icons.

Copyright 2012 BookPage Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2013 Spring
This series' mischievous dinos tackle holiday traditions and observances. First the dinosaurs (with human parents) model bad behavior: peeking at presents, hoarding dreidels ([cf2]Chanukah[cf1]); un-decorating the tree, eating Santa's cookies ([cf2]Christmas[cf1]). By mid-book the dinosaurs have settled down to demonstrate proper decorum. Bouncy rhymes and humorous illustrations combine to make these welcome entries in holiday book collections. [Review covers these two titles: [cf2]How Do Dinosaurs Say Happy Chanukah?[cf1] and [cf2]How Do Dinosaurs Say Merry Christmas?[cf1].]

Kirkus Reviews 2012 September #1
Yolen and Teague's rascally dinosaurs bring their mischief to the titular holiday, illustrating the many ways it is recognized and celebrated by similarly behaving children in American Jewish households. Yolen's facile rhyme in question-and-answer format subtly displays the poor and corresponding acceptable conduct for each aspect of the celebratory eight nights. "Does a dinosaur act up / on Chanukah nights / when Mama comes in / with the holiday lights?" Fidgeting through the nightly prayers, grabbing the chocolate candy coins and snatching the dreidels so no one can play are examples judiciously countered with "No – / a dinosaur doesn't. / He sings every prayer, // takes turns with the dreidel, / remembers to share." Teague's familiar collection of humorous, oversized dinosaurs sporting scaly bodies, clawed feet and fang-filled smiles within the confines of a normal home will keep young Paleolithic enthusiasts riveted. Per the series formula, each page features one labeled prehistoric beast, and the endpapers contain all 10 varieties included in the visual portion of the story. Entertaining and loving, though the concepts and legend behind the annual weeklong winter remembrance are missing. (Picture book. 2-5) Copyright Kirkus 2012 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Publishers Weekly Reviews 2012 September #3

Yolen and Teague score a winner with this playful Chanukah story brought to life with bright and engaging illustrations. Each page poses a question of how a dinosaur would behave during the eight days of Hanukkah with a cute rhyme like, "Does he peek at the presents stashed under Dad's bed?/ Does he write his own name on each gift card instead?" Each possible mischievous behavior illustrates one aspect of the holiday, including playing dreidel, lighting candles, and sharing gelt. Children will appreciate the larger-than-life dinosaurs and their amusing antics and learn just how to behave during this fun holiday. Up to age 4. (Sept.)

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School Library Journal Reviews 2012 October

K-Gr 2--In this addition to the popular series, 10 more mischievous dinosaurs are acting up, this time during the eight nights of Hanukkah. With their characteristic childlike antics, these dinos fuss and fidget during the menorah blessings, blow out the Hanukkah candles, write their own name on all the presents, and squeeze the Hanukkah gelt until it melts. Yet by the fifth night, they are singing the prayers, sharing the dreidel, helping with the dishes, and spending time with the grandparents. While there is nothing particularly new about this title, the tried-and-true formula works here, namely a deceptively simple rhyming text that serves as a sturdy foundation for the brilliantly humorous illustrations. As with the earlier books, children will love seeing what sorts of trouble the dinosaurs get into while appreciating the loving familial feeling that comes from celebrating the holiday together.--Teri Markson, Los Angeles Public Library

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