Dinosaur vs Santa
by Colleen R. Cahill
It is soon that gift giving season and I have been looking over books for that really tough audience, pre-schoolers. Why tough? There are plenty of books that are cute and endearing, but I want something which we will both enjoy, especially as I might be reading this again and again. One that I think will be a hit with both the reader and listener is Bob Shea’s Dinosaur vs. Santa from Disney/Hyperion Books. Not only does it keep with the holiday season, but it has a few surprises for a young one and for you, too.
Young Dinosaur is looking forward to his visit from Santa. There is much to do before the big event. An active creature, Dinosaur begins with a letter to Santa and with a roar, draw, scribble, roar, Dinosaur wins! This is just the first of several challenges for Dinosaur, including decorating, making presents and perhaps the most difficult, being extra good. Facing all these with fierce determination, he makes it successfully through to “falling asleep on Christmas Eve”. Here things are a bit more troublesome, as Dinosaur uses every trick in the book, even getting a glass of water and its after effect. But what will happen if Santa sees our young scamp out of bed? Who will win then?
I will admit up front that the title is what attracted me to this book. Those who remember the short film “Bambi vs. Godzilla” will understand; if you haven’t seen it, the Internet can introduce you to this classic. While aimed at a different audience, the film and this book do share the element of humor and this is what will delight both the child and the adult. Some of the jokes maybe over the head of the young ones: for example, when Dinosaur tackles decorating the tree, the adult will be amused by his win, which has only the bottom quarter of the tree covered. I also liked the art work and was tickled by the sweaters Dinosaur wore which had their own bits of personality. And while we might chuckle at Dinosaur’s various triumphs, he is a character that many kids will completely understand.
As with any book you are reading to a child, you need to gauge the audience; I would say this is aimed more at boys than girls, but would be fine for any who like dinosaurs and enjoying roaring fun. And if this is a hit, there are 3 other books from Shea, including Dinosaur vs. the Library.
The copy I received of this book came with a bonus page for writing a letter to Santa, one that can be mailed without cutting up the book. Definitely a work written on several levels, both you and your young one will enjoy Dinosaur vs. Santa.