Story by Mark Sperring
Art by Alexandra Steele-Morgan
"One day, Marty's mom told him all about dinosaurs." Imagination peaked, Marty decides that a dinosaur would be an excellent playmate and makes up his mind that he's going to find one. Even though his mother tells him that they lived long ago and are now, unfortunately, extinct, Marty is sure they're just good at hiding. He sets out on a determined search in and around his house and uncovers elves, an alien, a sea monster, something-or-other and thing-a-ma-jig along with many other interesting creatures... but no dinosaurs. (Observant readers, however, may notice a few dinos-in-disguise throughout the book.) His mom gently tries again to convince him they don't exist, but his belief in real live modern-day dinos is unwavering. "I've changed my mind about dinosaurs being good at hiding," Marty said finally, "They're GREAT at it!" In the final pages, readers see Marty gazing out his window, unaware of the presensce of several dinosaurs camoflauged in nighttime shadows against the trees, and taking the shapes of clouds and constellations, among things.
Find-a-Saurus is fun, imaginative, and thoughtful. Parents will appreciate Marty's determination in believing the unbelievable with enthusiasm and pure faith that comes with childhood; Children will appreciate being rewarded with proof that Marty was right, and dinosaurs do indeed exist. Fear is also addressed, but more subtly (and maybe I'm just seeing this through the eyes of my own past childhood). Marty discovers creatures in the very places that children would most worry that a something-or-other might be lurking--in the closet, under the bed, in the attic. But there is such a humorous take on every creature he comes across (a monster making a silly face from under the bed, for example) that Marty is unconcerned by any of the potentially frightening discoveries, and children are sure to find the expedition hilarious.
The illustrations compliment the story wonderfully. The artwork is rich in color and energy, and the composition of each page interesting enough that even younger children will want to linger and notice the subtle details of the book.
Find-a-Saurus is another great read for any young dinosaur enthusiast, although certainly not limited to children who love a good dinosaur tale. We have borrowed this book from the library frequently enough that I'm sure my son will find his own copy among birthday or Christmas presents this year. (Shh, don't tell.) We both recommend it.