Sunday, August 28, 2011

Dinos for Dummies

Taking advantage of the back-to-school sales, I bought J a composition notebook to encourage him to spend more time doodling or writing his letters and numbers. So far, it's been pretty successful--much more so than giving him blank computer paper or construction paper and asking him to write.

Last week as we were drawing, we were talking about his favorite subject (aside from LEGOs): dinosaurs. J was recapping the latest episode of 'Dino Dan'--about a baby dinosaur who hatches from an egg and then chases the dog. I took the pencil and paper and this is what I drew.

And this is the conversation that followed:

J: What's that?
Me: A baby Pterodactyl.
J: There's no such thing as a Pterodactyl.
Me: Yes, there is. It's one of the bird-like dinosaurs.
J: No, Mom. There's no such thing called a Pterodactyl.
Me: Well, then what is this?
J: Well... there is a pterosaur called a Pterodactyl-US, but not a Pterodactyl.
Me: Oh. Then this is a baby Pterodactylus.
J: Cool.

Well, excuuuuse me, Mr. Walking Dinosaur Encyclopedia! 

And based on what I found after a quick Google search, the little stinker is right. I was shamed not only by my 4 year-old but also by this wikipedia entry that says that use of the word pterodactyl is strongly discouraged and is usually used erroneously by journalists. Damn! No wonder J was so emphatic about it!

Lest you fall victim as well to being uninformed about the modern advances in the field of paleontology, here's a round-up of some of our favorite dinosaur books: 

Dinosaurs, Dinosaurs by Byron Barton This was our first dino book and an excellent starting point for babies and toddlers.
Let's Look at Dinosaurs by Frances Barry Also nice for toddlers, or preschoolers. Lift the flap to find out which dinosaur is hiding on each page.
Dinosaur Vs. Bedtime by Bob Shea Not exactly a reference source on dinosaurs, but incredibly fun! Dinosaur can overcome a bowl of spaghetti and even bath time, but will he triumph over bedtime? Roar, roar, roar!
Dinothesaurus by Douglas Florian These dinosaur poems are clever, funny, and informative. The author includes a Glossarysaurus at the end of the book for older or more curious readers. The illustrations are fantastic. They have a child-like quality, but also contain incredible detail and texture. According to Florian, "the illustrations for this book were done with gonache, collage, colored pencils, stencils, dinosaur dust, and rubber stamps on primed brown paper bags". 

For more book suggestions, check out my Goodreads page.

What topics are your children experts in?


turtle said...

I try to avoid dinosaur books like the plague....I can never pronounce the names and I can never remember the proper name for any particular dinosaur. I will have to have J share his knowledge with L since I am so deficient in this area.

katie said...

@turtle--I did not know that! I definitely make use of the pronunciation guides that usually accompany these books.

We will keep L in the loop for ya. :)