Book Review: Dinosaur Woods by George McClements
You know what kids like? Thinking big. The bigger the idea, the better. Bob Shea & Lane Smith’s 2008 (and appropriately titled) Big Plans is a great example of this concept successfully making its way into children’s lit. Add Dinosaur Woods into this category as well. A group of animals try to save their little patch of forest the only way they know how – by coming up with a wild, grand, prehistoric idea.
As is so often the setup, developers are moving in. In four days the Plas-Tic Tree Company will be clearing forest to build a new factory. Seven residents of said forest are, understandably, troubled. Rojo the fox comes up with a plan to create a huge, fearsome, lifelike Tyrannosaurus Rex puppet to scare everyone off. The friends work hard on the project and it pays off – the developers are thoroughly spooked. But when the pseudo-dino breaks and the jig is up, will our heroes need to find a new home?
The illustrations, rendered in mixed media collage, are nothing short of astounding. McClements works wonders here with paper and paint, crafting expressive characters full of life.
Solid story, amazing visuals, and a “think big” theme that kids will enjoy. A nice package.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow him on Twitter: @100scopenotes.
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