Celebrating with Dinosaurs
By Jane Yolen & Mark Teague
Scholastic, $16.99, 32 pages
During the holidays, there is so much excitement every day that it is hard to be on your best behavior all of the time. In How Do Dinosaurs Say Happy Chanukah?, little readers are invited to join the fun as dinosaurs celebrate Festival of Lights. Author Jane Yolen uses delightfully rhyming text to show that no two dinosaurs spend the eight days the same way. After reading this book, it isn’t hard to see why more than fourteen million dinosaur books are on the bookshelves of children all over the world. What will the dinosaurs do? Do they act upon Chanukah when Mama lights the menorah? Do they fidget through the candlelight prayer and then blow out the candles when everyone leaves the room? Do they unwrap the presents Daddy hid under the bed? NO – dinosaurs don’t do these things! They sing during prayers, share candy gelt with others and eat up potato latkes and then clear their plates. Mark Teague’s illustrations are hilarious and very detailed. One of the funniest pictures is of a Nyctosaurus using his huge claws to delicately play with a small dreidel.
Kids don’t have to be Jewish to enjoy the book. Parents and teachers can explain what specific items are (i.e. menorah, gelt and dreidel) and the purpose they serve during the holiday. So how do dinosaurs say Happy Chanukah? They do it with love, joy, memories and gratitude.
Reviewed by Kathryn Franklin