Reviews for Dinosaur vs. Santa

Booklist Reviews 2012 October #1
In this follow-up to Dinosaur vs. the Potty (2010), the rebellious little monster creature gets ready for Christmas. Can he write a letter to Santa? Yes. Roar! Dinosaur wins. It is the same with decorations, gifts for Mom and Dad, and more. Roar! The red and green colors make this a fun Christmas read-aloud for toddlers who will recognize how hard it is not to get things wrong as tension rises during holiday preparations. The climax is when the choo-choo that Dinosaur asked for in his letter appears. 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? an[Fri Aug 22 11:52:38 2014] Wide character in print at E:\websites\aquabrowser\IMCPL\app\site\ line 249. d 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
Shea's rambunctious little red dino returns, this time getting ready for Christmas. Writing Santa a letter, decorating, making presents--Dinosaur triumphs in each small battle. The temptation of a gingerbread cookie almost bests him while he's "being extra good," but Dinosaur's greatest challenge is "falling asleep on Christmas Eve." The dynamic dino stands out amongst the bold holiday colors, thick lines, expressive type, and minimal mixed-media illustrations.

Kirkus Reviews 2012 September #1
Fresh from roaring out at bedtime (2008), at potty training (2010) and in the library (2011) Shea's prehistoric preschooler takes on Christmas. Flashing dentifrice that would do a shark proud, the diminutive dino "attacks" a letter to Santa, struts proudly away from a newly decorated (at least in its lower branches) tree, glues up crafty gifts for the parents and heroically takes a pass on a tempting gingerbread cookie ("Dinosaur versus… / being extra good!"). After sneaking downstairs for a Santa sighting ("something no dinosaur should ever do"), he even surmounts the supreme challenge of falling asleep on Christmas Eve. Flashing expressions that range from fierce scowls and high jubilation to a less showy--but more substantial--grimace of triumph (see cookie encounter, above), the energetic urchin gambols across appropriately noisy scatterings of crayons, craft sticks, glitter and various (secular) signs of the season placed by the author against backgrounds of solid color alternating with plaid and other patterns. "DINOSAUR WINS!" So will young readers and listeners likewise charged up with dino DNA. (Picture book. 3-5) Copyright Kirkus 2012 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Publishers Weekly Reviews 2012 September #2

Shea's red dinosaur has always been adorable as he's battled bedtime, the potty, and the library in earlier books, but in a snowsuit or sweaters festooned with snowmen and reindeer, he's downright irresistible. He's also grown up a bit: not only does Dinosaur emerge victorious in the realms of tree-decorating ("Roar! Balls! Roar! Lights! Dinosaur wins!") and present making (popsicle-stick frames are the order of the day), he's also disciplined enough to leave Santa's cookies alone. The wrapping paper-style backgrounds and vintage flourishes in Shea's artwork are especially well suited to a holiday story, and Dinosaur's unbridled energy is as infectious as ever. Ages 2-6. Agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (Sept.)

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School Library Journal Reviews 2012 October

PreS--Roar! Roar! Roar! Feisty little Dinosaur comes out on top of every challenge: writing a letter to Santa, decorating the tree, and making presents for his parents. But the outcome isn't so certain when it comes to being extra good, not to mention staying awake on Christmas Eve. Will Santa put Dinosaur on his naughty list? Never fear, Dinosaur wins every round. Energetic, retro mixed-media illustrations depict Dinosaur in a series of fabulous Christmas sweaters, smothering the bottom third of the tree in ornaments and lights, and roaring his way through the best Christmas ever. A must for most collections.--Eva Mitnick, Los Angeles Public Library

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