It shouldn’t surprise us, after watching kids with rooms full of expensive toys have the time of their lives playing in a cardboard box, that the simplest toys and games are often the best. In Dinosaurs on the Move, author Cathy Diez-Luckie proves this beyond question with a series of paper dinosaurs to construct. This carefully crafted book brings dinosaurs alive in the imagination of children. Information on ten of the best-known dinosaurs is provided including details such as weight, habitat, diet, fossil discoveries, and special features. For example, here is the Ankylosaurus: “Ankylosaurus was protected in armor consisting of bone plates covered with skin or keratin, a tough protein. The tail had a heavy club at the end made from plates fused to the last few tail vertebrae.” This basic information is just the beginning, however. The main feature of the book is 20 paper figures to cut out and assemble. There are two figures for each dinosaur, one in full color, and one in black and white. The paper is a stiff, wood-free card stock, ideal for playing.
The cut-out pieces are appropriate for little hands. There is a small amount of fine detail which provides a great opportunity for children in the 5-10-year-old age range to practice fine motor skills without getting frustrated. Instructions for assembly are very clear. There are marked points for assembling each piece and all are labeled with a letter of the alphabet and a “front,” “middle,” or “back” to indicate the order in which the pieces should be placed. The pre-colored version teaches children what the dinosaur might have actually looked like, while the black and white version allows them to let their imaginations and coloring pens run wild. The finished dinosaurs are a good size to play with and sturdy enough to withstand hands-on play. There is an identifying label on the back of each dinosaur even after it is cut and assembled.
The author received her training from the Toledo Museum of Art and the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. She has illustrated three other children’s books: Goodbye Goose, Kitty Goes Splash, and The Paper Bag and has also written and illustrated another paper figure book: Famous Figures of Ancient Times.
This book has it all. It allows children to be creative, develop fine motor skills, and study science, all while playing with dinosaurs. Fun and educational, Dinosaurs on the Move provides a hands-on learning opportunity that will no doubt inspire children to want to learn more. This reviewer’s seven-year-old son assisted in assembling the dinosaurs and pronounced the book “Educational but still cool.” High praise indeed.
Review Date: May 2010.