|Robb's Rambling Reviews||
I never thought I’d see a dinosaur in a doctor’s waiting room, but if I’ve learned anything from reading children’s literature, it’s to expect the unexpected! In Jane Yolen’s How Do Dinosaurs Get Well Soon? I was treated to page after page of surprises, and given a lesson in manners to boot! Yolen’s simplistic, direct, yet melodic language sets the tone of her no-nonsense book dealing with expected behaviors of sick children. If a dinosaur can do it, you can too! Silly, but amazingly effective. What better way to introduce children to the ins and outs of being ill, who will care for them, and not being scared in the doctor’s office than using one of the few things all children love: Dinosaurs! Children will have no problem reading-along, and will be able to read-aloud in no time at all.
I was touched by Yolen’s sweet introduction to the ins and outs of being ill, but I was captivated by Mark Teague’s superb illustrations. Teague’s artwork not only complements Yolen’s story, but drives the story as well. Each set of pages offers a different dinosaur dealing with a different aspect of being ill. Each dinosaur’s facial expressions and body language are sure to get a chuckle from readers, but also allow children to see themselves in place of each reptile. Young readers will find it easy to discuss the writing while they look for corresponding attitudes and mannerisms of these giant, silly, loveable creatures.
Not only do the illustrations reinforce the theme of the text, they take on a life of their own as they takes center stage of the story. By using a unique composition of extra-large dinosaurs and average size humans, children will spend hours pouring over the illustrations, looking for dozens of minute aspects of the artwork which are nearly hidden. Each dinosaur’s name is discreetly hidden somewhere on the page, along with crayons, thermometers, rubber duckies, and lollipops. The use of blank space allows the artist to create larger scale drawings of the dinosaurs which will no doubt make any dinosaur lover happy!
If only my parents had a copy of How Do Dinosaurs Get Well Soon when I was a child! As a youngster I visited the doctor’s office on a regular basis due to an inherited eye disorder called amblyopia. I can still see myself climbing under the waiting room furniture, hiding behind the examination room tables, and refusing to have my eyes dilated. This may not have solved all our problems, but I’m sure it would have made things easier. I could so relate to the facial expressions of the dinosaurs and doctors, that I was not only entertained, but a bit embarrassed for my behavior all those decades ago. I’m so grateful for Yolen’s and Teague’s treatment of the subject that many of us don’t even think about. I’m sure doctors and nurses everywhere feel the same way too!
How Do Dinosaurs Get Well Soon? Impressed in so many different ways. An endearing message on manners set to rhyme, a spectacularly illustrated work, and a lesson on dinosaurs too. Who could ask for more? I know I couldn’t! This is a must have for parents, doctors, nurses, and me as well!
Citation: Yolen, J. (2003). How do dinosaurs get well soon? New York, NY: Scholastic Press.