Writing poetry for children is far more difficult than one would suspect. Too flowery or abstract and the younglings just “don’t get it”. It’s easy to fall back on the ridiculous or absurd, creating rhymes instead of poems. But for every Shel Silverstein, who was a genius of the silly poem, there are hundreds of others whose works are simply mildly amusing or, at worst, just …silly.
Douglas Florian is that rare children’s poet: able to both find the fun in a poem without resorting to the ridiculous. His previous works, particularly Mammalabilia, are among my favorite works of poetry aimed specifically at children. With Dinothesaurus he focuses on the endlessly kid-friendly topic of dinosaurs. The short, witty poems are accompanied by multimedia paintings and drawings.
Florian plays with words and conventions, and throws in dinosaur facts as well. The last few pages have brief paragraphs about each of the dinosaurs mentioned – from the famous T. Rex to the lesser known Minim or Baryonyx.
While this is not my personal favorite of Florian’s many excellent poetry books, it is still quite good, and will no doubt find many fans.