Sourcebooks Kids kindly sent me a pair of books recently to feature on my blog. While I had previously inquired about the Mary Anning book Dinosaur Lady and so had expected to see that one, the publisher surprised me by throwing in Dinosaurs Can’t Roar as well! Let’s take a look at it together.
Written by Layla Beason and illustrated by Mariano Epelbaum, Dinosaurs Can’t Roar is aimed at very young children, and features appropriately silly illustrations and easy-to-read rhyming text. Despite expecting a completely wacky, fictional, story (it DOES feature a goofy T. rex in a polo shirt, after all!), I found myself pleasantly surprised at its educational value.
Its central theme is essentially the same as Boy, Were We Wrong About Dinosaurs!, but for younger audiences. A scientist introduces us to several dinosaurs, and incorrect assumptions people have made about them in the past, before over-correcting and suggesting an even goofier alternative, before finally settling in on what current science suggests about the factoid in question. Young readers get introduced to the proper posture of tyrannosaurs, the supposed butt-brains of Stegosaurus, and the existence of Brontosaurus (also mentioned in Ted Rechlin’s graphic novel Jurassic).
The title of the book refers to a somewhat-recent study that concluded that “roaring” is a distinctly mammalian trait, and as close relatives of birds and crocodiles, dinosaurs likely would’ve been limited to vocalizations similar to what they produce. I guess Dinosaur Roar! and ROAR: A Dinosaur Tour may have to change their book titles, now! If you’re interested in learning more, Sci Show made a short video called What Did Dinosaurs Really Sound Like? that provides a good introduction to the new research.
Dinosaurs Can’t Roar ends with an educational page that goes into more detail on the concepts introduced in the book. It skews towards older readers, so parents might need to walk the target audience through this section themselves.
I found myself more pleased with this book than the dino nerd in me expected to be at first glance, and it’s proven to be a hit with the under-6-crowd in my house as well! I generally prefer a little more precision even in stylized dinosaur illustrations (see Mammoth is Mopey and Dinosaur Atlas for examples in two different styles), but there’s definitely a place for more child-friendly illustrations like these as well. I really appreciated the scientific information the author managed to convey at a level that even very young children can understand, all in easy-to-remember rhymes! Big thanks to Sourcebooks Kids for send me both Dinosaurs Can’t Roar and Dinosaur Lady! My whole family has been enjoying both of these books, and I highly recommend them to anybody with young dinosaur nuts.