Dinosaur-themed books run the gamut from purely entertaining books with characters that happen to be dinosaurs to stories that both entertain and inform to encyclopedic books for kids interested in learning every detail there is to know about every dinosaur that ever lived. For this booklist, I chose a few of my favorite books in each of these categories.
Dinosaur Roar! by Paul Stickland and Henrietta Stickland. A simple rhyming book that introduces kids to opposites: “Dinosaur roar, dinosaur squeak, dinosaur fierce, dinosaur meek, dinosaur fast, dinosaur slow, dinosaur above and dinosaur below.” Ages 1+
Dinosaur! by Peter Sis. In this wordless picture book, a boy takes a bath with his toy dinosaur and imagines that real dinosaurs surround his bathtub. At the end of the story, when his mother is running to frantically mop up spilled water, the boy seems pretty pleased with his imaginary adventure. Ages 3+
How Do Dinosaurs Say Good Night? by Jane Yolen and Mark Teague. How Do Dinosaurs Say Good Night? wins the most frequently requested dinosaur-themed book award. In this fun rhyming book, human parents attempt to put dinosaur kids to sleep. My kids get a kick out of descriptions of dinosaurs pouting, requesting extra bedtime books, and throwing fits before bedtime. How Do Dinosaurs Say Good Night? teaches kids more about bedtime etiquette than about dinosaurs. Ages 3+
My Visit to the Dinosaurs by Aliki. A fantastic introduction to dinosaurs for young children! Sandwiched between a description of a boy’s trip to a dinosaur exhibit at a science museum, My Visit to the Dinosaurs explains how dinosaur fossils formed and introduces readers to a handful of dinosaurs. If you like this book, look for others that Aliki has written including Digging up Dinosaurs and Fossils Tell of Long Ago. Ages 4+
Prehistoric Actual Size by Steve Jenkins. This book is not just about dinosaurs but instead about a variety of prehistoric creatures. Prehistoric Actual Size features succinct one to two sentence descriptions as well as “actual size” illustrations of these creatures. Ages 5+
Dinosaurs! The biggest baddest strangest fastest by Howard Zimmerman. This book is a good choice for kids interested in memorizing dinosaur names and facts. This book offers kids exciting illustrations of dinosaurs in their natural habitats and three to four paragraph descriptions of a variety of dinosaurs. It contains a few pictures of dinosaurs eating other dinosaurs. This book’s large, 15 inch tall format is fun! Ages 6+
The Ultimate Dino-pedia: The Most Complete Dinosaur Reference Ever by “Dino” Don Dessem and Franco Tempesta. If you know a kid who is fascinated by dinosaurs and interested in learning everything there is to know about dinosaurs, then this is the book for you! The Ultimate Dino-pedia does more than simply list and describe dinosaurs. It also does a phenomenal job of explaining geological changes that occurred when dinosaurs lived, how fossils form, dinosaur life cycles and behavior, and much more. Ages 7+