Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Picture Books: Dinosaur vs. the Potty (and Bedtime) by Bob Shea

Author Bob Shea has two memorable must-read books for preschool-aged children.   In both, the main character is a young dinosaur who aptly conveys the experience and personality of many young children (ages 2-6).  The lively illustrations use broad strokes, mixed media, and vivid colors—focusing on a plainly drawn but endearing and energetic dinosaur.   Parents (and preschool teachers) will find these selections helpful and entertaining. 

Dinosaur vs. Bedtime
Ordinary encounters are depicted with fervor and importance.  A dinosaur conquers many challenges throughout his day, such as a pile of leaves, a big slide, a bowl of spaghetti, and a tooth brushing.  In each contest, he “roars” his way to victory!  The red toothy dinosaur’s biggest challenge, though, is bedtime.  After a long day of excitement and amusement, the energetic protagonist cannot defeat bedtime—no matter how much he “roars.”  Ultimately, bedtime wins.  

This story fittingly portrays the experience of the toddler or preschooler who has many opportunities for new experiences and independence during his day.  In this case, the dinosaur confidently and successfully meets each challenge.  The character also illustrates the vivaciousness and activeness of most little children.  They desperately need their sleep, but they yearn to stretch out their days as long as possible.  The dinosaur conveys that it is all right to let sleep win!  

Dinosaur vs. the Potty 

“Roar!  I don’t need to use the potty!”  asserts the determined, active dinosaur as the story opens.  Following a similar format as the first installment in this series, the dinosaur takes on various challenges---all related to fluids!   He makes lemonade, splashes in the sprinkler, drinks THREE juice boxes at lunch, plays in the pool, and splashes in rain puddles---yet each time he adamantly announces that he does NOT need to use the potty!   As he does his victory jig in the rain, he begins to realize that it may be another type of dance—a potty dance.  Dinosaur runs and roars all the way to the potty.  It is a close one—but fortunately, “The potty wins!” 

I love this book even more than his first one!  The story illustrates how children can get so wrapped up in the excitement of the day that they find it difficult to take time to potty.  Setting up potty training as a task to conquer, it may entice some youngsters may to follow in Dinosaur’s footsteps and to have a victory.  The amusing onomatopoeia and repetition make the story ideal for reading out loud and choral participation.  This beloved dinosaur protagonist is sure to charm your kids—and no doubt you! 

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