Posted by: Jamie Stamm | March 19, 2008

What we’re reading: “When Dinosaurs Came With Everything”

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“When Dinosaurs Came With Everything,” written by Elise Broach and illustrated by David Small (Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2007)

A young boy isn’t looking forward to errand day with his mom, until he sees an unusual sign at their first stop.

“Buy a dozen get a dinosaur,” reads the sign atop a bakery counter.

“They must mean a toy,” his mom says.

But they don’t. Instead, the lady behind the counter gives the surprised mother and son a real triceratops.

“What!” cried my mom. She did not look happy. “How are we supposed to get that home?”

The bakery lady smiled. “Oh, don’t worry, he’ll follow you. They always do.”

Thus begins a thrilling morning for the young boy, who gets a stegosaurus after his doctor’s check-up and a pterosaur from the barber.

That’s when Mom puts her foot down. She decides her son can wait a little longer for a new pair of shoes and that they’ll catch a movie another day. And they’re certainly not going to stop at the diner for a hamburger once Mom sees a girl walk out with a Tyrannosaurus rex. (The son does manage to add one more dinosaur to his collection, though, luring a baby hadrosaur to follow him home by holding a donut out the car window.)

Back at their house, the mom lies down for a nap while the son makes lunch for his newfound friends and introduces them to their new digs. He shows them where to go to the bathroom, tells them to stay away from the neighbor’s mean dog and shares his toys with them. It turns out the dinosaurs love playing Frisbee, but when Mom sees the pterosaur retrieve a disc from the roof, she has other ideas.

Pretty soon, the pterosaur is cleaning out the gutters, the triceratops is “mowing” the grass, the hadrosaur is helping rake leaves and the stegosaurus has wet laundry hanging from his spikes.

“But I knew they didn’t mind,” the little boy muses. “It just meant they were part of the family.”

Filled with page after page of beautiful (and completely silly) illustrations in watercolor and ink to accompany a story that’s at times laugh-out-loud funny, “When Dinosaurs Came With Everything” has quickly become a favorite of our entire family.

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