Mom always said you could be whatever you wanted to be when you grew up.
You could be a fireman or a doctor, a singer or a teacher. You could drive a big truck or ride a horse. Whatever you wanted to do, all you needed was to go to school and keep your eye on your dream. But read the new book “I Wanna Be a Great Big Dinosaur” by Heath McKenzie, and you might wanna change your mind.
Once upon a time, there were all kinds of dinosaurs on earth. Huge ones. Ginormous ones, and a little boy wanted to be one of them. He wished he could be a great big dinosaur — but he didn’t exactly know how. He was certainly willing to find out, though, and who better to learn from than another dinosaur?
There are a lot of things to do when you’re a dinosaur. You must open your mouth wide and ROAR!! Do it as loud as you possibly can, and then you must know how to STOMP correctly. It’s a hard thing to do, and you can’t mess up.
The boy also needed to know that dinosaurs eat and eat and EAT. Meat is mostly what they want because they really don’t know any better; they’ve never tasted birthday cake or ice cream or cheese or salad. As a kid who wanted to be a dinosaur, it was his duty to tell other dinos about that stuff.
But then again… the boy liked to read lots of books, and dinosaurs generally aren’t big readers. Dinosaurs don’t play soccer or Little League or any other sports, either. And because their short little arms end with claws, they have trouble with video games sometimes. That’s just not a good thing at all.
So maybe being a dinosaur really wasn’t what the boy wanted. He’d miss out on a lot of things if all he could do was roar and stomp and eat. In fact, if a dino ever saw how much fun it is to be a kid, he might not want to be a dinosaur, either.
So what can a kid and a dinosaur do?
Plenty, as it turns out, but before you get to that point, practice your sound-effects voice. “I Wanna Be a Great Big Dinosaur!” demands that you do.
It’ll be better that way anyhow, if you STOMP and ROAR as you read this perfectly silly story that McKenzie has written. The enjoyment comes, in fact, exactly because it’s not your run-of-the-mill dino book. There’s nothing scaly or scary here and no must-learn science for smaller children who aren’t ready for it. Instead, this is a book for kids who love to pretend and for adults who are willing to go along with it, just because it’s fun.
While this is probably not the best bedtime story, “I Wanna Be a Great Big Dinosaur” would make a great big daytime read-aloud for kids ages 4 to 6. If they have good imaginations, even better. They’ll be delighted.
View publishes Terri Schlichenmeyer’s reviews of books for children weekly.
About the Book
“I Wanna Be a Great Big Dinosaur” by Heath McKenzie
c.2016, Sourcebooks, $16.99/$23.99 Canada, 32 pages.