Book Review: The Super Hungry Dinosaur by Martin Waddell
There’s something about the taming of wild beasts that has staying power in children’s lit – you’ve heard of Where the Wild Things Are, right? I can understand why – it’s a role reversal. Rules are so often imposed on youngsters, it only makes sense that they would enjoy a story where the kid gets to call the shots, besting the monster. And such is the case with The Super Hungry Dinosaur. But don’t let my (possible over-) analysis cloud the picture – this book is charming as all get out, and kids will approve â€“ especially in a read-aloud setting.
Hal and his dog, Billy, are minding their business in the back yard, when they are surprised by an unexpected guest. The titular Super Hungry Dinosaur breaks down the fence and is looking for food. The dino first tells Hal that he will be lunch, but the curly-haired boy is sharp and explains why that is not a fair choice. Rebuffed, the dinosaur suggests other family members (each suggestion denied by Hal) until the line is crossed: the dino wants to eat Billy. Hal takes a stand, taming the beast and feeding him, sending the green dinosaur contentedly on his way.
The artwork, created by Leonie Lord, sets a jovial mood. Crayonlike in texture and childlike in form, Lord creates sunny pages that are a delight to lay eyes on. The two-page spread is nicely utilized, showing the full size of the dinosaur. Spreads are also occasionally split into thirds horizontally, providing three narrow strips to continue the story. This is Lord’s first childrenâ€™s book, and I look forward to more in the future.
Appealing in story and artwork, The Super Hungry Dinosaur will do pretty well for itself in collections far and wide.
Review copy provided by the publisher
Find this book at your local library with WorldCat.
About Travis Jonker
Travis Jonker is an elementary school librarian in Michigan. He writes reviews (and the occasional article or two) for School Library Journal and is a member of the 2014 Caldecott committee. You can email Travis at email@example.com, or follow him on Twitter: @100scopenotes.
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