Here is an exciting book and DVD package which breathes new life into the familiar story of the dinosaurs. Yes, there is an enormous number of books, CD-ROMs and films about them on the market already, and many opportunities to see life-size realizations of these prehistoric creatures as well as fossil remains in museums. But this package is an ideal introduction for modern, visually aware young learners which informs, entertains and encourages thinking and reflection. I suppose you could read the book without recourse to the DVD and, if you provided an oral narrative, the DVD could also stand alone. But, used together, they make a powerful resource and are mutually reinforcing.
I read the book first and found it well organised with a good balance between lucid and interesting text and large, sharp-lined illustrations of a huge variety of dinosaurs. Most dinosaur books for this age group offer helpful comparisons between dinosaurs and things likely to be familiar to children. Here this approach works well – for example a dinosaur’s eggs are shown alongside a football and a Quetzalcoatlus is pictured with a small plane – and this way of indicating size is carried through to the DVD.
The package has enormous potential for inspiring lively art work and writing. Possibilities include making a frieze showing the different kinds of dinosaur in their habitats (perhaps with some written annotation), creating story box scenes (with children’s plasticine models) and writing and drawing on topics like ‘My Favourite Dinosaur and Why’.
And finally, what an opportunity using this package would be in helping these younger children think about what you learn best from a print book and what is best conveyed by animation together with sound effects.