'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Sunday 15 July 2012

Review: The Little Dinosaur

There once was a little dinosaur. She lived on Gondwanaland - a landmass containing the bones of what we now call Australia. Gondwana was very cold, even in summer, and in winter, it was dark all through the day and night.

The little dinosaur was small for her size (about the same as a wallaby). She was a herbivore, eating a variety of ferns and leaves. She spent her days foraging with her herd, avoiding very large predators who would love to make a meal of the little dinosaur and her family.

One day, the little dinosaur fell and hurt her leg. It hindered the longevity of her life and she stumbled and died near a riverbank. Her body soon melted away, leaving only bones which were soon buried with mud, alongside the bones of other creatures.

And so continues this tender and fascinating journey into a time long-ago.

Author Hoy has beautifully revisited and narrated - in a way that is clear and enticing for even the very young - the evolution of time since the dinosaurs. She has beautifully described the process of fossilisation and how Gondwana split and moved and became the countries we know today. She follows this journey, using the little dinosaur as her anchor.

Having the fossilised bones of the little dinosaur found by a modern day palaeontologist is heartwarming and moving - especially when she discovers the dinosaur had suffered a broken leg, thereby making the reader's connection to the original character even more real.

I love how the palaeontologist then identifies the dinosaur, takes a cast of the bone and sends it to an artist to render the little dinosaur as first a drawing, then a 3D model. And of course, the model is used for something very special - but you'll need to read the book to find out.

Andrew Plant's gorgeous illustrations make for a truly beautiful narrative account of a precious life that will never be forgotten. A book for dinosaur lovers, yes - but also for anyone who has ever heard of a dinosaur, or knows how important it is to be remembered.

Title: The Little Dinosaur
Author: Catriona Hoy
Illustrator: Andrew Plant
Publisher: Working Title Press, $24.95 RRP
Publication Date: June 2012
Format: Hard cover
ISBN: 9781921504297
For ages: 5 - 10
Type: Picture Book