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IAMASAURUS by Anne Ylvisaker


by Anne Ylvisaker ; illustrated by Mark Hoffmann

Pub Date: March 1st, 2022
ISBN: 978-1-951836-43-6
Publisher: Cameron + Company

Racially diverse children take a class field trip and learn about dinosaurs...and themselves.

A busload of not-so-supervised children romps through a dinosaur exhibit at a museum of natural history. They hop over stanchions, clamber up the skeleton displays, and seize fossil pieces; a sign ineffectually reads, “PLEASE DON’T TOUCH!” An ambiguously Black museum employee tries in vain to maintain order (though he ultimately joins the fun). Narrated in the first-person plural, the rhyming text lists the many attributes of dinosaurs: “We're explorers, / outdoorers. / We travel in herds. / Don't try to catch us, / we'll fly off like birds”; and “WE'VE GOT / MAXILLAE, / MANDIBLES, / CLAVICLES, / RIBS. // SCAPULAS, / HUMERI, / TIBIAS, / FIBS”; and so forth. However, the amusing and educational illustrations make it clear that the children aren’t too different from the prehistoric reptiles; in fact, by the visit’s end, the kids have undergone a “roarsome” transformation. Ylvisaker’s text—which takes amusing liberties to achieve some of the rhymes—is delightfully silly but provides plenty of opportunities for vocabulary-building. Best of all, caregivers and children can channel their inner dinos and “ROAR,” “STOMP,” and “CHOMP!” together. The children are cartoonishly rendered with faces composed of simple geometric shapes and a variety of skin tones. One girl uses a wheelchair.

An amusingly anarchic paleontological primer.

(Picture book. 4-6)