Children's Bookshelf: We Are The Dinosaurs

Oct 23, 2017

This week on the Children's Bookshelf, Dr. Sue Ann Martin reviews "We are the Dinosaurs," written by Laurie Berkner. It's a great read for children ages 4 to 8. 


WE ARE THE DINOSAURS, written by Laurie Berkner and illustrated by Ben Clanton is a delightful picture book parade of young dinosaur pride. It is based on Berkner’s popular children’s song by the same name and it takes to the illustrated page very well. The repetitions, rhymes, onomatopoetic words and the determination on the little dinosaur faces gives birth to a music of its own.

The dinosaur youngsters, Ernesto, Dax, Olive, Sasha and Floyd, are dedicated to march, march, marching because they want to and they can. “We are the dinosaurs-WHADDAYA THINK OF THAT?”  They are proud and they are loud as they romp, stomp and tromp about the terrain making the earth flat! Meanwhile their moms and dads stand in the background giving them room to grow, to try on their powers and to learn about the world. Mistaking a volcano for a quiet mountain being one important lesson.

Ben Clanton’s illustrations, created in colored pencil, acrylics, watercolor and assembled by photo editing are lively, colorful, engaging and full of visual fun!

The music and lyrics for the song are nicely placed on the back cover and can be seen when you remove the book jacket.

WE ARE THE DINOSAURS written by Laurie Berkner and illustrated by Ben Clanton is a great read aloud book for 4-8 year olds. (Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2017). 

Activities and Questions for 'We Are The Dinosaurs'

The young dinosaurs in this picture book are all different. With the help of your parents do some research into the basic shape of the Tyrannosaurus, the Triceratops, the Brontosaurus and the Pterodactyl and answer the following questions: What kind of dinosaur is Dax? Notice he has wings. What kind of dinosaur is Olive? Notice her long neck. What is different about Sasha’s shape? What dinosaur has three horns and a frill around its head? What kind of dinosaur could Ernesto be? Notice his huge set of teeth.

On the title page of this book it shows Ernesto drawing a map for their journey. What is not included in this map as well as the map on the end papers at the front of the book? What did these young dinosaurs learn about the land around them when they fell asleep in the cave?  How did the map shown on the end papers at the back of the book change after their collective experience on the mountain? What did the young dinosaurs learn?

Have you ever had an experience that turned out differently than you expected? When and where did this take place?  For example, was it at school, at a birthday party, on a vacation, on the playground or while playing a sport?  What did you learn? Can you draw a picture of your experience? Be sure to show how you felt.