Quote of the Month

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

Friday, July 11, 2014

See You In September #1

I've been collecting some new titles with a common theme; stacking them up hoping to do a top ten post combining them with past favorites.  Two things made me decide to do a separate post for each one; they are all special in their unique story line and signature illustrations plus this tweet appeared in my feed yesterday.

For the next few weeks get ready to read about fun-filled new titles set within and outside the walls of schools and classrooms.

Did you see a flash of red?  Did you hear an earth-shattering sound?  Did you catch a whiff of victory in the air?  If so you must be in the presence of Bob Shea's boisterous bundle of get-up-and-go grinning and roaring his way through his latest escapade, Dinosaur vs. School (Disney Hyperion Books).


Clad in plaid our bold hero is off to school for the first time.  Even though you would hardly label him as shy, he isn't quite sure if he will make any new friends.  Wait a minute.  Yes!


Next he and his pals head over to the treasure trove provided for pretend, trying on everything to get the right look.  Coming up is crafting at the art center.  (His teacher might need to re-stock her supply of googly eyes.)  Snack time offers more opportunities for creativity and munching on a delicious treat.

Musical instruments for everyone!  It's time to feel the beat.  It's a symphony of sizzling sound.

Pals, dress-up, gooey glue, tasty goodies and home-made melodies are adding up to the winningest day this little guy has ever known.  What's that you say?  Oh.  This is not part of any plan these school chums imagined.  This could spell defeat for our daring dinosaur's future.  Win or lose, they need to choose.

As in the previous titles in this series, (Dinosaur vs. Bedtime, Dinosaur vs. The Potty, Dinosaur vs. The Library and Dinosaur vs. Santa, Bob Shea addresses everyday situations with clarity and care.  Boys and girls attending school for the first time can be apprehensive about who they will met, what they will eat, and how they will spend their day.  Shea turns each situation into a win with readers feeling like they can roar their way to success.  His use of the same repetitious phrases from the previous titles provides a comfortable cadence for his young audience; like spending time with a best friend.

Red, bright yellow and shades of blue boldly beckon to readers on the dust jacket and matching book case.  The background of a piece of enlarged lined writing paper pairs well with the theme and the snazzy coat Dinosaur is wearing.  Take note and laugh out loud at Dinosaur's lunch box; these tiny details add to the overall distinction of this title.  On the back Bob Shea highlights a lively group of students laughing together.  Opening and closing endpapers in the hoped-for argyle pattern foreshadow the story's end.  On the title page all the characters are introduced to readers resting in colorful squares before they begin their school day.

A kaleidoscope of hues heightens the spirited classmates enjoying every activity.   A checkered pattern and real objects add variation to the vivid backgrounds.  Once Dinosaur is in the classroom Shea introduces each challenge with a line of one or more friends following him, ready to participate.  Given all the happiness and smiling faces in the first five portions of Dinosaur's day, it makes for perfect comic contrast when the final request is asked.  The expressions on the little cat, fox, pig, cloud, horse and Dinosaur are hilarious.

One of my favorite illustrations is of Dinosaur and his classmates gathering their musical instruments and playing them.  The combination of complimentary colors evokes a sense of music.  Shea includes all the words for the sounds each instrument makes as part of his design.

Written and illustrated by Bob Shea Dinosaur vs. School is an exceptional title in an already well-loved series.  Readers and listeners alike will be hard-pressed not to roar along with Dinosaur and company. (I don't care how old you are.)  Who wouldn't want to be a part of a classroom with this guy?

For more about Bob Shea and his other books please follow the link embedded in his name to access his website.

I encourage you to get a copy of this delightful book at your favorite indie book store.  I got mine at McLean & Eakin in Petoskey.  Or visit your local library.

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