That's What Dinosaurs Do

illus. by Pete Oswald. 32p. HarperCollins./Harper. May 2019. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062343192. POP
PreS-Gr 2–William roars at everyone in town, because that's what dinosaurs do. He cheerfully scares a group at the bus stop, kids at the playground, and farm animals. All that roaring leads to a sore throat and instructions from his doctor: "no more roaring for a week." William is sad but his community is grateful for the peace. A week later, William is back to his old self, happily roaring at everyone he meets. His sore throat is cured, but he didn't gain any self-awareness during his quiet time. The fed-up townspeople demand an apology, but William isn't sorry. "That's what dinosaurs do." Oswald's perfectly whimsical illustrations match John's crisp yet thoughtful pacing and send a disruptive message about the importance of self-expression juxtaposed against the needs of the community. This story can be a terrific springboard for students to talk about the impact of their actions in school or at home. But William lacks the self-reflective characteristics of the author's similarly impulsive Bad Seed character, and his story could be misconstrued as merely a celebration of individual freedom. Match this title with the more didactic Ellen Javernick's What if Everybody Did That for a two-tiered book club on social justice. Or go another way and read along with Mo Willems's extremely social Edwina, the Dinosaur Who Didn't Know She Was Extinct and Martin Waddell's The Super Hungry Dinosaur who learns that his antisocial urges can be sidelined with a good meal.
VERDICT A recommended read-aloud wherever dinosaurs are popular.

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