Dinos Don’t Give Up! by Smriti Prasadam-Halls, illustrated by Richard Merritt. Tiger Tales, 2022. 9781680102888
Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 4
Format: Hardcover picture book
What did you like about the book? Dinah the Diplodocus is good at everything – from schoolwork to crafts to music. She’s also a supportive and helpful friend, which makes the other dinosaurs admire her even more than her academic and artistic prowess does. When a surfing competition is announced in Dino Town, all the dinosaurs want to try; Dinah is confident she will succeed at surfing and win the contest, even though she’s never surfed before. When she does not do well ( in fact she comes in last), it’s hard for her. Her friends give her a “great big dino-hug”, which cheers her up and inspires her to be a good sport AND get right back out on the water with her board.
Smriti Prasadam-Halls is really good at writing in rhyme; she has a knack for making lines fit together perfectly without seeming contrived. The clever turns of phrase and lilting rhythm of this book just about beg to be read out loud, and the attractive design of the text and pictures adds to that fun. The bright illustrations of dinosaurs of varying size and color doing human things and wearing clothes will make readers giggle. It is refreshing to see an overachieving character also be a decent one; Dinah is not competitive, mean-spirited, or boastful, and she accepts her loss with grace. Most importantly, she reacts to her disappointment by “picking (herself) up again and simply having fun!” Resilience and perseverance are valuable lessons, of which teachers and parents can’t get enough literary examples these days, and Dinah’s story is a fun one.
Anything you did not like about the book? It is probably a bit text-heavy for the intended audience as an independent choice.
To whom would you recommend this book? Teachers in preschool through grade 1 will want to add this to their repertoire of SEL read alouds.
Who should buy this book? Preschools, public and elementary school libraries
Where would you shelve it? Picture books
Should we (librarians) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? No
Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City: Leigh Russell King, Lincoln Street School, Northborough, Massachusetts.
Date of review: September 21, 2022