A Dinosaur Named Ruth: How Ruth Mason Discovered Fossils in Her Own Backyard (Julia Lyon)

Hello, friends! Our book today is A Dinosaur Named Ruth: How Ruth Mason Discovered Fossils in Her Own Backyard, written by Julia Lyon and illustrated by Alexandra Bye, a fascinating tale of paleontology and persistence.

In turn of the century South Dakota, 7-year-old Ruth Mason found her first dinosaur bone in her very own backyard. She began a collection of her then-unusual discoveries, even as friends and family told her that the strange little bones weren’t special or important. As the years passed and Ruth found more and more of the unusual bones, she began writing universities and museums about her discoveries, only the receive the same answer: the things she was finding in the Badlands weren’t significant, weren’t important, weren’t special. For decades, Ruth kept collecting, kept writing, and kept being dismissed. That is, until the day in 1979 when she finally received a knock on the door…

A most unusual and intriguing dinosaur story! The paleontological gold mine that Ruth Mason’s family ranch turned out to be serves as an interesting lesson on not only patience and dealing with being underestimated, but also a salute to doing something simply for the love of doing it. Despite having her discoveries dismissed for over seven (!) decades, Mason continued to collect fossils and display them in her “garden of bones”; whether or not the world thought they were important (which, it turns out, they very much were), they brought her joy and so she treasured them. Lyon’s text is filled with gentle cheerfulness and a touch of cheek, perfect for the optimistic tone of the story. Bye’s lush illustrations are suffused with warmth and atmosphere, imbuing the characters, including the charming Ruth and even the living versions of dinosaurs whose bones she loved, with personality and energy. The length is perfect for a storytime, and JJ really enjoyed this heartwarming tale of a tenacious girl and her dinosaurs. Overall, a unique and rewarding story, and we loved it. Baby Bookworm approved!

(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)

Am I Yours? (Alex Latimer)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Am I Yours? by Alex Latimer, an adorable dinosaur tale about family.

During a blustery day, a large blue speckled egg is blown out of its nest and rolls down a rocky hillside. Coming to a stop at the bottom, the egg – or rather, the baby dinosaur inside – begins to call out to others passing by, querying “Am I yours?”. Not being able to see the little one inside its egg, the dinos describe their features and ask if the baby shares them. Does he have sharp teeth like T-Rex? No. Spikes like the steggo? Nope. Long neck like Brachio? Nada. As the sun sets and the temperature grows colder, the egg’s occupant begins to panic. Yet the setting sun shines a light on the situation, and the helpful dinosaurs all band together to get the baby home.

Wonderful. This charming title combines a sweet story about kindness and family with a stellar early lesson in some of the most popular species of dinosaur and their distinctive features. The bouncy rhyming text flows wonderfully, and deftly utilizes repetition in a way that makes it a joy to read aloud (this would make a fantastic addition to any dinosaur storytime). The colorful, charming characters are a delight; even the egg manages to have presence and personality. Front and back endpapers even feature dozens of fully-illustrated and labeled dino species for further learning. JJ adored this one, and I did too. A winner that any little dino-lover (and their parents) can enjoy, and it’s Baby Bookworm approved!

(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)

Night Night, Dino-Snores (Nicola Edwards)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Night Night, Dino-Snores, written by Nicola Edwards and illustrated by Thomas Elliot, a bedtime touch-and-feel board book for little dino lovers.

Nighttime has come, and it’s time for little dinosaurs to go to sleep. Each of the nine species is introduced by name, then shown curling up, cuddling close, bedding down, and otherwise preparing for a night of sleep in their family groups. Dozing Diplos, tiny Pteros, and snoozing Spinos are all here, and ready for a cozy sleep under the starry skies.

Basic but sweet. This bedtime book has its positives: the rhyming text achieves a very nice, soothing, sleepy rhythm that genuinely feels relaxing, and the adorable illustrations of the tired little dinosaurs and their families, created in a dusty-twilight palette of colors, are charming and equally calming. The area where the title falters is its touch-and-feel elements, which seem completely random and arbitrary (flocked fleece on the spine of a stegosaurus? Holographic plastic scales on a brontosaurus that don’t even match the creature’s coloring?), and don’t correspond to anything in the text. It makes the element feel tacked on, and gives nothing to the overall tone of the story. It’s a lively little bedtime story, especially for dinosaur-lovers like JJ, and would have been fine without the disjointed interactivity attempt. Still, it’s a good length and a fun read, and JJ loved it, so it’s definitely worth a look. Baby Bookworm approved!

Little Dinos Don’t Hit (Michael Dahl)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Little Dinos Don’t Hit, written by Michael Dahl and illustrated by Adam Record, one of a four-part series of board books to help little ones control their tempers.

Little dinos have lots of energy! But sometimes, that energy can be angry or upset. And when it is, it’s important to remember not to use that energy to hit others. Instead, try to channel it into helping. Little sister is crying because she knocked down her block tower? Don’t hit, help instead – rebuild the tower together! Little brother upset about his broken bicycle? Don’t hit, help! You two can figure out how to fix it, and then you can go for a ride! The most important thing to remember is that little dinos should not use their energy to hit – not when they can be such excellent helpers.

Sweet and, well, helpful. The author-illustrator pair’s Little Dinos series aims to help younger readers with explosive emotional reactions (other titles deal with yelling, biting, and pushing), which is something that all little bookworms and their caregivers have to deal with at some point. The barebones text and brightly colored illustrations of this story get the message across well: hands are much better put to use helping than hitting. I wish there had been a little more suggestion or instruction on how to calm gut reactions that might cause kids to lash out, such as taking a deep breath or counting to five, but the simplicity of the book works to its advantage in other ways, notably that it is easy enough for early readers to pick up and memorize. The characters are extremely cute, and JJ loved them. This would be a great way to introduce a little anger management for the youngest bookworms, and we recommend it. Baby Bookworm approved!

It’s Not A Bed, It’s A Time Machine (Mickey Rapkin)

Hello, friends! Our book today is It’s Not A Bed, It’s A Time Machine, written by Mickey Rapkin and illustrated by Teresa Martinez, a delightful adventure that encourages little ones to be brave at bedtime.

“Be brave!” says the mom of our hero – a little boy – as she closes the bedroom door. “You’re the Boss of Bedtime!” But bedtime is a scary time, what with the dark corners and foreboding closets. As soon as mom is out of sight, however, his stuffed bunny Floppy has a counter-argument: it’s not a bed, it’s a time machine! Think about it: you fall asleep then wake up hours later – where did the time go?! Intrigued, the boy activates the time machine to travel to the past, all the way to the time of dinosaurs! Colorful beasts of all shapes and sizes roam across the landscape, doing hilariously human things like playing basketball or knitting. The two friends have now switched attitudes; Floppy feels a bit nervous, but the boy is in heaven, and even makes a special pet-like dinosaur friend. When the time comes to leave, he bids Dino-land farewell, and wakes up in his bed, excited to tell his mom about his dream… if it WAS a dream…

Wonderful! A creative concept with a practical lesson, the story both entertains little readers while encouraging them to create bedtime adventures of their own. The art in particular is phenomenal, rich with details in every spread, such as the subtle hints of foreshadowing in the boy’s messy bedroom and the wonderfully unique dinosaur village, and the character design is spot-on adorable. The length is perfect, and JJ the dino-lover went wild for this one. A fresh and fun bedtime book, and we recommend it – Baby Bookworm approved!

(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)