(and what’s that flying overhead?)
After toddlers have mastered counting from one to ten, they can be directed to Oldland’s Dinosaur Countdown where they can then learn to count down, not just from ten to one but to “none”. Originally published in 2012 as a picture book, Dinosaur Countdown has been reissued in a smaller board book size with a few small changes to its text and illustrations. If young readers have not seen the earlier version, they will not be aware that the board book’s spread for “6 six sky-gazing diplodocus” was originally “6 six soaring pterodactyls” and that “3 three tottering tricerotops” were “3 three rearing dinosaurs”. Though Oldland uses a cartoon-like style in illustrating the book’s dinosaurs, his renderings are essentially accurate representations of the dinosaurs, and the changes to text (and corresponding illustrations) were apparently necessitated by errors of fact.
Adults who are reading Dinosaur Countdown to their young charges will appreciate that the words in the pronunciation guide that had been placed at the end of the picture book have now been redistributed in the board book so that a guide to how to pronounce a dinosaur’s name now appears on the spread associated with that dinosaur.
In terms of the text, each number appears both written as a numeral and spelled out as a word. While the names of each of the dinosaurs add to a toddler’s vocabulary, Oldland does not stop his word bank building there, but he adds appropriate participles, like “sauntering”, “lazing” and “lumbering”, to describe what each dinosaur type is doing.
For children, the fun surprise will be the last spread which shows the skeleton of a dinosaur accompanied by the text:
(they’re extinct, silly!)
Dinosaur Countdown would be an excellent home purchase, and it should be in all library collections serving the preschool crowd.
Dave Jenkinson, CM’s editor, lives in Winnipeg, Manitoba.