Posted in Preschool Reads

If You Happen to Have a Dinosaur… You Could Really Get A Lot Done.

if you happen to have a dinosaurIf You Happen to Have a Dinosaur, by Linda Bailey/Illustrated by Colin Jack. Tundra Books (2014), $17.99, ISBN: 9781770495685

Recommended for ages 3-7

Part owner’s manual, part wish list, If You Happen to Have a Dinosaur is a running list of all the amazing things you could do if only you had a dinosaur. Worried about burglars? No longer! They’re also built-in gardening help, coffee grinders and potato mashers, umbrellas, snowplows, and more. But be careful – there are also somethings that dinosaurs are NO GOOD FOR. Like, anything to do with food.

I loved this book. Dinosaurs are very popular with children, and Ms. Bailey’s writing style, which calls Laura Numeroff’s If You Give… series to mind, will get readers ready to anticipate what’s coming next. The art, rendered digitally, is very retro-1970s, and absolutely enjoyable. The dinosaurs are colorful and have goofy expressions; the people in the book have friendly faces with big expressions. The black font is fairly plain with a little flourish, which will draw the attention of new and fledgling readers, and make for a fun storytime for littler listeners. The art stands out against the white background of the pages, with the exception of a spread or two.

This would be a great read-aloud book for preschoolers. I’d love to put some plush dinosaurs around the story room for the kids to enjoy as I read. The story lends itself to a fun discussion about what other uses there are for dinosaurs; it may even be a fun craft idea to let the kids draw some uses for dinosaurs. There are some great dinosaurs songs and fingerplays online, and there are virtually hundreds of coloring printables for a takeaway.

The author’s webpage offers information about her author talks and her books, an FAQ, and contact information. If You Happen to Have a Dinosaur hits shelves on May 13. The book’s ending makes me hopeful that this will be a new series, so let’s keep an eye out!


I'm a mom, a children's librarian, bibliophile, and obsessive knitter. I'm a pop culture junkie and a proud nerd, and favorite reads usually fall into Sci-Fi/Fantasy. I review comics and graphic novels at WhatchaReading ( I'm also the co-founder of On Wednesdays We Wear Capes (, where I discuss pop culture and geek fandom from a female point of view.

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