This Is Not A Dinosaur! / Drawing Outdoors

This in Not a Dinosaur!
Barry Timms and Ged Adamson
Nosy Crow

The NOT dinosaur that the small boy in this story meets is definitely a versatile creature. Said large green, possibly prehistoric being that appears in the playground offers all manner of exciting, special and useful possibilities as a playmate. It can become pretty much anything and everything from a sign-osaur to a soccer star supersonic-kick-osaur; it might morph into a tonsorial wonder-worker trimming and skilfully styling your tresses,

or a fearsome freebooter sailing upon the ocean deep. One thing is certain: should you decide to befriend this beastie, there are fun adventures aplenty in store; you might even find yourself scaling a mountain, flying through the air

or tip-toeing into a creepy haunted house.

With its wealth of wordplay, Barry Timms’ rhyming text combined with Ged Adamson’s funny, action-packed scenes of a burgeoning friendship add up to a super story to share with young humans, definitely NOT dinosaurs around the age of the un-tailed protagonist, be that at home or in school. I’ve no doubt if you read this with a Foundation Stage or KS1 class, they will imagine themselves into many more playful NOT dinosaur situations. The classroom potential this book offers is huge.

Drawing Outdoors
Jairo Buitrago, (translated by Elisa Amado) and Rafael Yockteng
Greystone Kids

Between two lush green mountains, beside a pure blue river in the middle of nowhere stands a small school. Education is far from dull for its pupils however. Through a girl narrator we hear about one particular day when their teacher greets them with the news that their learning will be done outside and she leads them off with notebooks and drawing equipment at the ready. ‘We are explorers” says the narrator. Even the twins who have already walked a long way to reach school leave their reluctance at the door, motivated by the prospect of an adventure day out.

First into view as they reach the river bank, among the lush vegetation stands a Brontosaurus!

Then, there’s a Triceratops,a Stegosaurus, Pterodactyls, a roaring Tyrannosaurus Rex. Finally, the group sit to eat their snacks on a branch “as big as an Ankylosaurus”.

Then with a wealth of drawings it’s back to that school with ‘almost nothing. A blackboard, some chairs. And … a teacher, and a Brontosaurus that’s as big as a mountain.’

With Jairo Buitrago’s spare, matter of fact text, it’s left to listeners and readers to decide whether the dinosaurs we see in Rafael Yockteng’s landscapes are real or not. Their book pays homage to the imaginative teachers who truly value creativity one wishes all children will meet in their time at school. I’m sure re-reads will the requested after a sharing of this story with young children.