Should You Growl or Say Please?
By Jed Henry
Abrams Books for Young Readers, $14.95, 32 pages
Does your child speak a prehistoric language? The little redheaded boy in Jeb Henry’s book, I Speak Dinosaur!, does. In fact, he speaks dinosaur all the time. He growls, roars and yells. He even looks like a dinosaur; his teeth are pointy and his hat is covered with spikes and horns. But what happens when he tries to talk to people? When he sees three kids in the sandbox and wants to join them, he should ask, “May I please play with you?” But some dinosaurs have no manners. Instead, they say, “Gribber, Grabber, Globber, Slobber!” and when the redheaded boy talks like a dino, he scares the other kids.
Henry’s pen, ink and watercolor illustrations are whimsical and humorous with the little boy eventually turning into a huge red dinosaur! After he shouts at neighbors walking their dogs, it is the red dinosaur that sits in time-out. Henry works an important lesson into his story: It can be fun to yell, shout and act silly, but there is an appropriate time and place for that. Ultimately, the little boy finds himself alone on the swings because he has frightened all the other kids away. But when three dinos politely ask him to play, he learns he can have a lot of fun using good manners and being kind. Parents, teachers and kids will enjoy the twist at the end of the story as the little redheaded boy learns a new way to speak dinosaur.
Reviewed by Elizabeth Franklin