Dinosaur Week at preschool was always an anticipated time. Everyone’s imaginations was captivated by dinosaurs! So I was very excited to read the copy of Dear Dinosaur: T. Rex on Tour by Chae Strathie I received from Barron’s Educational Series.
The general story line: A young boy named Max visits his local museum of history with the intent of viewing the dinosaurs. Once there, though, he discovers the exhibit is closed as the dinosaurs are on tour. Following a suggestion that Max write T. Rex a letter, Max and T. Rex become pen-pals. Max learns of various places the dinosaurs visit and T. Rex learns a little about feelings.
Whether reading in a group time setting or one-on-one with your child, I like the book’s large size. Additionally, Nicola O’Byrne’s illustrations are colorful and easy to see. The book offers tidbits of information on dinosaurs. The topics can stand alone or serve as entry points for more in-depth research.
There was one exception. In one of T. Rex’s letters he writes: The word “dinosaur” means “terrible lizard,” but dinosaurs aren’t actually lizards. From my experience, most preschoolers wouldn’t let that sentence pass. Preschoolers ask questions. Parents, teachers follow the Scouts’ motto: Be prepared! (Dinosaurs are one kind of reptile as are lizards; they’re like cousins).
At preschool, I would always try to engage the kiddos by making the story interactive. This is also a good idea when reading to your child at home. Dear Dinosaur: T. Rex on Tour makes it easy! Within the story there are awesome letters* to unfold, lift-up, open and read!
The 1st letter Max receives from T. Rex makes reference to Maxasaurus Rex. The preschoolers always liked creating their own dinosaur names. Surprisingly they didn’t always create those names by tacking –asaurus on the end of their given names. While reading the book, pause to give your child(ren) time to describe some of the traits or characteristics they would use to create their own dinosaur name. It might surprise YOU to hear what they think are some of the things that are unique to them!
After reading Dear Dinosaur: T. Rex on Tour, I thought about how it could be used in a classroom or at home. Pretend play is common in the preschool years. Pretend play is important too! Promote pretend play by adding dinosaurs to block play, with playdough, or including dinosaur costumes. Including these accessories or props will stimulate young children’s creativity and contribute in multiple ways to their overall development.
Another avenue towards pretend play inspiration: BOOKS! And Dear Dinosaur: T. Rex on Tour would be great!
Support your kiddo(s) literacy! Put out plenty of writing materials. Some ideas:
•stamps & pads
Depending on the age of your child(ren), consider adding a globe or map of the world to bring a geographic aspect to the activity. Be sure to display the book; even add a mailbox.** I’m thinking there’ll be letters to some dinosaurs going out!
Dinosaurs offer years-long fascination. Dear Dinosaur: T. Rex on Tour would make a great gift for a niece, nephew or one of your child’s friends. It’d be a fun addition to your kiddo’s book collections as well as using for a classroom’s dinosaur-themed unit!
Yours in PLAY!
*NOTE: These letters aren’t indestructible however, so I would recommend only using the book with older preschool kidlets, 4 years and up.
**Simply cover a large oatmeal container with construction paper; put a slot in the lid; duct tape to the side of desk /cabinet–works perfectly!