Quote of the Month

When love and skill work together, expect a miracle. John Ruskin




Monday, October 24, 2011

A Rip Roaring Roar of a Read

That riotous, red, rascal, starring character in Dinosaur vs. Bedtime and Dinosaur vs. The Potty, has returned.  Gleaming, sharp-toothed grin spread across his face, as he sits surrounded by books, announces his newest adventure, Dinosaur vs. The Library.  Dinosaur is leaving home to go to his favorite place, (and mine) the library.


Diamond shapes, in vivid, spring green, argyle-style, frame two small graphics of Dinosaur sitting amid books reading and carrying a stack of books on both the front and back endpapers.  Clearly he loves books and reading.  Now that's my kind of Dinosaur.

Turning to the first double page layout readers are greeted with a shiny bright red page on the left and on the right an equally big, bright red Dinosaur arms outstretched yelling out loud,

ROAR!
I'M A DINOSAUR!

Readers can't help but grin as he is, proclaiming that he is roaring his way to the library extending an invitation for all to roar right along with him.  He roars down the steps and across the yard until its Dinosaur versus a cow!

 Mooing as a cow should Dinosaur hollers his challenging roar but cow's attempts at roaring don't measure up  and he wins.  No surprise there, Dinosaur is a champion roarer.  He leaves cow happily roaring away  next to a jar of chocolate syrup, spoon on the ground and Dinosaur---carrying a glass of chocolate milk.  (Ahhh...the memory of making all those glasses of chocolate milk as I was waitressing my way through college for hoards of children that came to the restaurant.)

Peeping chicks, a shy turtle and a sad owl are no match for our prehistoric hero as he happily rambles toward his destination, the library.  No one has ever roared in the library before.  Dinosaur lets loose a

ROAR!
ROAR!
ROAR!

An unseen voice implores him to use his inside voice.  Can he do that?  Will Dinosaur be able to not roar during story time?  Can he keep quiet for a entire tale?  Who will win?

Shea's thick, simple black line drawings colored with brilliant, primary colors speak to the heart of the child that maintains residence in all of us.  Varied font styles in alternate hues declare DINOSAUR WINS! adding to the visual appeal.  Tucked among the shelves at the library is a copy of his book, Big Plans illustrated by Lane Smith.  An earlier publication, New Socks, is the selection for story time. 

It's the attention to the added details, vibrant colors and spare text which speaks volumes that elevates the overall appeal of this title; that and the perfect ending of course.

In response to an email I sent Shea graciously described his illustrative process:

I work both traditionally and digitally. I am constantly sketching in my notebook. That’s how I work out how the page will look. Then I draw the illustrations larger and trace them to make them neat. Then I take that neat sketch and draw it again in ink with a brush.

Then I scan that ink drawing into the computer and color it in and add details. I like to add all sorts of things to my illustrations. A photograph, a scanned texture, whatever it takes to tell the story.

Bob Shea has a personal web site, a page on Facebook and his Dinosaur books have a wonderful place at Disney. At the Disney site is information about each of the books, loads of videos and printables.  Have fun and welcome abroad the fan train for Dinosaur vs.......

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