Review: Never Ask a Dinosaur to Dinner


Never Ask a Dinosaur to Dinner

A review of Never ask a Dinosaur to Dinner, by Gareth Edwards, illustrated by Guy Parker-Rees.

I have to admit to a certain degree of subterfuge when it comes to choosing bedtime stories with my young son. I have been known to hide books, so that they will not be chosen, and place others conspicuously at the front of the bookshelf or on the top of the pile.  Shocking, I know, but I am sure other parents would also go out of their way to avoid reading certain adaptations of children’s movies or television programs. Children love those kind of books because they feature familiar characters and images. However, such books can be turgidly written; so much so, that I sometimes wonder whether they were written by humans or by a book-writing computer application.

So why do I bring this up now? Because Never ask A Dinosaur to Dinner is one I will be placing right at the top of the pile when I offer my four-year-old son a bedtime story.  ”Maybe not tonight, Mammy,” he might reply. “We’ve read it ten nights in a row, it might be time for a slight change. How about this.” He will hand me the same movie-to-book adaptation of The Rescuers go to Kazakhstan (or something of that ilk) that continues to re-appear on my children’s bookshelves in spite of the years I have spent trying to lose or destroy it.  I even went so far as to put that particular book in the dog’s bed in the hope that the dog would do the job for me. However, it turns out that our six-month-old puppy has an appreciation for high-quality literature and will only chew good books.

She would chew Never Ask a Dinosaur to Dinner if she could get her razor-sharp little teeth on it. This hilarious cautionary picture book is one of those that make reading bedtime stories a joy for both reader and listener. It points out the perils of sharing household activities with a range of potentially aggressive animals, including sharks, beavers, bison and barn owls. The language is inventive, the illustrations amusing, and the overall concept very witty.

Never ask a Dinosaur to Dinner makes the front of our bookshelves, alongside classic works by authors such as Julia Donaldson, Dr. Seuss, and Martin Waddell.  I look forward to reading more books by Gareth Edwards while my son is still in his picture book phase.

This article was originally published on The Swallows Nest Children’s Books Site. It is reprinted with that site’s permission.

© Safie Maken Finlay 2014


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