On the tail of the Rappy the Raptor books, by Dan Gutman and illustrated by Tim Bowers (2015, etc.), comes this rapping, participatory look at the dinos that lived long ago.
“Come on everybody, shake a claw. / Let me hear you bellow. Let me hear you ROAR! / Let me see you jump and thump and tap. / Come and join in! Do the dinosaur rap!” This repeated refrain is illustrated with seven children who have cleverly dressed themselves to look like their favorite dinos. On subsequent pages, each child takes a turn introducing a dino and prompting readers to copy their actions: “There’s a Saltopus strutting, swaying to the beat, / Hopping and bopping and tapping his feet. / Tap your feet!” Other species include Shonisaurus, Apatosaurus, Stegosaurus, Triceratops, Pteranodon, and Tyrannosaurus rex. The rhymes are nothing to write home about, but Harter’s artwork uses vivid colors and patterns that pop off the pages. Her cartoonish dinos may not seem particularly realistic, but they are easy for youngsters to match with their own clothing and props. Harter’s children are notably diverse in many ways: only two are white, one sports glasses, another uses hearing aids, and a third uses a frame walker. Backmatter includes a paragraph about each species, a timeline and info about the eras of the dinosaurs, and blurbs about what happened to the dinos and how paleontologists learn about them.
Though the rhymes are rather weak, this book does encourage pretend play, the backmatter is enlightening, and the diversity is refreshing. (Picture book. 2-6)