Tuesday, April 23, 2013

For the Dinosaur Fans

Dinosaurs Love Cheese by Jackie French, illus. Nina Rycroft, Angus &Robertson (Harper Collins Australia)

I’m reviewing the hardback version, which is very handsome indeed (I appreciated the cheesy yellow endpapers!). It’s a simple, repetitive story for preschoolers, who will be instantly drawn in by the big, velvety-green dinosaur on the cover. “I like milk and sandwiches...” says the first expansive double-spread showing the dinosaur coming down on a sling and raiding the fridge, followed by “... but dinosaurs love cheese.” The next two pages show various aspects of the dinosaur hanging from the ceiling and relishing his stolen goods. Young listeners will very soon pick up the refrain. The next double spread shows the kitchen populated by a troop of monkeys hunting for bananas ... “but dinosaurs love cheese.” And so on. The colourful, cheeky illustrations show the extremely fertile imaginings of the young narrator as he goes through a normal day accompanied by zebras, tigers, bears, etc. I  loved the different wide perspectives used in the illustrations - these would make the book a joy to read aloud and display to a class at preschool centres. I know exactly which grandson this is going to - he’s four and his name is Rory - the same name as in Jackie French’s dedication. How’s that for serendipity?
Jackie French is one of Australia’s most renowned and best-loved and respected children’s authors. She lives in the Araluen Valley, near Braidwood in NSW. Nina Rycroft is the enormously talented illustrator of such titles as NO MORE KISSES, BALLROOM BANANZA and BOOM BAH.  
ISBN 9780732292645 (hb), 9780732292652 (pb) RRP A$24.99 (also available as an e-book)
Reviewed by Lorraine Orman

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