As a preschool teacher, I am forced to read aloud all kinds of picture books over and over and over. I often wonder who decided to spend money on them in the first place.
Here’s another book about dinosaurs acting like people. This one is pretty much the kids’ favorite right now…
Dinofours It’s Snowing by Steve Metzger
The story: Albert the dinosaur just wants to make his puzzle and look out the window in peace, but Brendan keeps coming around and making him play with him instead. Poor Albert is forced to build a block tower and play a matching game with farm animal cards (who would have thought there’d be farm animals in a world made of talking dinosaurs?). Poor Albert. He even sings a song about how miserable he is. Then his teacher happens to notice the injustice that has been going on right under her nose and gives Albert this valuable advice: “You don’t always have to follow Brendan’s ideas. you can do what you want to do,” while Brendan gives the teacher an evil look (my favorite picture).
Then they go outside and play in the snow, and Brendan once again causes trouble and tries to get Albert to throw snowballs. This time, though, Albert screams at him to leave him alone, and when Brendan retreats, Albert sings a happy song about finally getting to do what he wants to do. At the end is my favorite line, when Albert makes up with Brendan: “Do you want to put your snowballs in my castle?” (Sorry–my mind just went to the gutter one day while reading it, and now I can’t hear that line without giggling in my head.)After that all is well again, though I’m sure Brendan will take the opportunity to impose his will on Albert once again. The end.
I just love books with lessons. Because, as the reviewer on Amazon brings up, our children really need to get the courage to stand up and scream, “I can do anything that I want!” Those that do need a little backbone would really benefit from hearing the advice given by talking dinosaurs, that’s for sure.
Now for a few more of my strategies–this time for books that come up over and over and over again that really aren’t that good in the first place.
1. Reading the first lines only won’t work–the kids know these books too well. Instead I suggest they tell me what is happening on each page.
2. Most likely they won’t go for #1. They want me to do the work, so now is the time to add voices. For especially annoying books, I spice it up with dracula voices and santa voices and monster voices and pixie voices–whatever weird voices I can think of–British royalty voices are fun too.
3. If the book has a made-up song in it (like this Dinofours one), I make the song a dirge, or a rock song, or I really spice it up and try yodeling it.
4. If all else fails, sometimes I yawn and pretend to fall asleep while reading. Then it can turn into a game of waking Emily up, and just maybe the book will be forgotten.
BTW: Dinofours It’s Snowing is out of print, but you can find it on Amazon for $19.24!