By Jane Yolen & Mark Teague
Blue Sky Press, $16.99, 32 pages
What do your kids do when they get frustrated? Do they yell or scream? Do they cry or throw a temper tantrum? In the New York Times bestselling How Do Dinosaurs? series, author Jan Yolen asks parents and children to imagine what it would be like if their kids were dinosaurs. Some of the other books in the series ask how dinos eat food, how they say goodnight, how they go to school and how they say I love you. In How Do Dinosaurs Say I’m Mad?, Yolen’s dinos all share one big problem – they are furious! Will a fight over a tricycle cause the Barapasaurus to stick out his tongue? When Albertosaurus gets angry, will he “roar, slam the door, yell at Mom or at Dad?” When Pachyrhinosaurus doesn’t get his way, will he throw furniture around the room? And when Afrovenator draws on the walls with crayons and gets yelled at by mom, will he kick a chair?
Mark Teague’s illustrations of all these tricky situations are wonderful and fun. Multicultural families including a mom, dad or both are pictured as a huge dinosaur (their child) acts out his or her anger in one way or another. Young readers will be able to see how out-of-control the dinosaurs are and will immediately recognize how inappropriate the behavior is, even for dinosaurs! Kids will also learn methods they can use in their own lives to calm down when anger starts to take over their emotions. The second half of the book reinforces this idea as the dinos show how they stop themselves from getting too upset. The Afrovenator counts to ten, takes a time-out and breathes calmly. The Sauropelta cleans up his mess. The Beipiaosaurus says, “I’m so sorry.”
While reading this book together, parents can take the time to talk to their kids about appropriate ways to deal with anger. The dinos offer comic relief but also provide a model to show how every conflict should end between parents and children. So remember, when you start to see out-of-control behavior in your mad dinos (oops, I mean kids!), get them to calm down, take a time-out, breathe and remind them how much you love them. If it works for the dinosaurs, it can work for your family!
Reviewed by Elizabeth Franklin