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Manhattan Public Library gives youth chance to learn about dinosaurs

At the Library: Jennifer Adams

By A Contributor

Dinosaur stories have been a big hit this summer with our Dig Into Reading theme, from Mo Willems’s tongue-in-cheek “Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs” to David Bergen’s awesome “Life-Size Dinosaurs” book.

Kids are invited to a paleontology party at 2 p.m. July 13 for more dino fun. Children’s librarian Jessica Long is planning a dinosaur egg relay (with dino-feet and dino-claws) and a craft “group effort” to create dinosaurs out of everyday objects that will be displayed in the library, plus some cool stories, facts and a volcano demonstration.

In addition to presenting this party and story times about dinosaurs, Ms. Jessica regularly reads dino books to her own budding paleontologist at home, 3-year-old Colton. He has listened to, memorized and approved many of the following favorite dinosaur books, reviewed below by Jessica:

For the youngest dino-lovers, Simms Taback’s “Dinosaurs” is full of bright, fold-out pages introducing toddlers and preschoolers to several of the most famous dinosaurs. “Dinosaur Dig” by Penny Dale combines two toddler favorites: dinosaurs and diggers. What else could you ask for?

“Dinosaur Dig” is being featured in the children’s room this month with several early literacy activities related to the story. Children and parents visiting the library can read the book together and then play with construction vehicles on our table covered with roads, construction sites and road signs. A magnet matching game encourages children to match the dinosaur names with the correct dinosaur and color.

Children can also puzzle together a dinosaur life cycle or match construction vehicles with action words. 

For slightly older paleontologists-in-training, “Dinosaur Pet” by Marc Sedaka is a fun rewrite of “Calendar Girls” to fit every dino-lovers dream, owning a pet dinosaur. A CD is included with the book so kids can learn the tune and dance along. Illustrations in “Hatchlings: Life-Size Baby Dinosaurs” by Kelly Halls brings the youngest dinosaurs to life. Most people think of giant sauropods and theropods when they think about dinosaurs. Even the biggest Argentinosaurus started out as a small(ish) egg, though. Some of these baby dinos are actually kind of cute.

If your young paleontologist is ready for more dino facts but not quite ready for the dinosaur encyclopedias, check out “The First Big Book of Dinosaurs” by Catherine Hughes. It includes more than one hundred pages of dinosaurs with just enough text to learn about each species without being overwhelming. The colorful pictures and lift-the-flap features in “Dinosaurs Around the World” by Susie Brooks will keep young readers engaged as they learn about the dinosaur’s world.

“Dinosaurs” by Penelope Arlon is a slim volume but it has stunning digital renderings of dinosaurs and up-to-date information on current discoveries and theories.

Barnum Brown is a name known to every paleontologist. After all, he discovered the most revered and feared dinosaur of all time, Tyrannosaurus Rex. “Barnum’s Bones” by Tracey Fern is a picture book biography that gives the reader a glimpse into this eccentric character and his most famous discovery.

More serious dinosaur hunters should check out “The Ultimate Dinopedia” by Don Lessem, filled with almost three hundred pages of amazing dinosaurs including some information that can be hard to find elsewhere.

For example, how many fossils of each dinosaur have been found. Dino-lovers young and old will eat this one up.

Kids who are registered for the library’s free summer reading program can earn a cool dinosaur skeleton prize just for finishing 250 minutes of reading time.

We still have lots of dinosaurs left, so sign up now if you haven’t already.

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