Janeen Brian (text), Ann James (illus.), I’m a Hungry Dinosaur, Penguin, 22 April 2015, 24pp., $19.99 (hbk), ISBN 9780670078103
I’ve never grown out of the simple pleasures of an afternoon making cakes and here are some characters who agree. Janeen Brian and Ann James’ award-winning dinosaur (and bird) are back for more creative adventures, this time in the kitchen. With quick paced text that puts one in mind of the nursery rhyme ‘Pat a cake, pat a cake’ this storybook puts the fun back into baking. It doesn’t matter how messy and chaotic the kitchen becomes, the reader is reassured by each rounded page-turn (glossy and will wipe clean of sticky fingers) that all you need are a few ingredients, an oven and a bit of time.
Action words are picked out in a brightly coloured child-like-font that reinforces Ann James’ ‘explosively active ‘magic’ pencil illustrations. Our main character is simultaneously anthropomorphic and age/sex-less and this dinosaur will appeal equally to small children and grown-ups. I think there’s many a carer who will feel they are being given permission to fling on an apron and get cracking eggs alongside their kids. Best of all – real ingredients were used in making the pictures … painting with cocoa looks as much joy as painting with mud.
reviewed by Liz Anelli