Dad and the Dinosaur by Gennifer Choldenko; illustated by Dan Santat. 2017. Pencil, watercolor, ink, acrylic, Photoshop. Published by G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers.
Brief summary: Nicholas is afraid of many things while his dad is not. The boy carries around a toy dinosaur in his pocket for courage to whatever activity he does. Nick has the toy plastic dinosaur with him even when he swims, tying it to his swim shorts. That evening, Nicholas takes it to his soccer game tucking the dinosaur in his sock. He scores a goal but loses his toy. His mother asks what he is doing walking all over the grass, but he does not tell her as they drive back home. He sleeps with the light on. His father comes home from work and asks if Nick is having a nightmare. His father tells him it’s okay to be afraid. Nick tells his dad about losing the dinosaur. His understanding father takes him out to the soccer field that night, and they find the dinosaur. Nicholas regains his bravery and is glad his father agrees not to tell his mom.
Comments: Wow. I can’t imagine my father going out of the house at night after working all day and actually go looking in the dark for a small toy dinosaur on a soccer field. This gesture tells the reader that the father really gets the urgency to find his son’s charm. I could see this book being shared at the beginning of the school year or when a child needs to do something a little scary or challenging. I have students show me their good luck charms a lot at the beginning of the school year. Sometimes they show me a photo of their mom all crumbled up having been hidden deep in a pocket. I show them the photos of my family and cats on my desk. We can all learn that there are different things/events that we may need a little extra reassurance.
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