Saurus Street series by Nick Falk and Tony Flowers
Random House, 2013. pbk., ill., RRP $A12.95
Saurus Street 1: Tyrannosaurus in the Veggie Patch. ISBN 9781742756554.
Saurus Street 2: A Pterodactyl Stole My Homework, ISBN9781742756561.
Saurus Street 3: The Very Naughty Velociraptor,ISBN 9781742756578.
Saurus Street 4: An Allosaurus Ate My Uncle, ISBN 9781742756585.
(Age 5-70) Children love dinosaurs. The dinosaur collection was the largest of my nonfiction section when I was library-based, and it was the section most visited by my youngest readers. It took very few visits for them to know where it was and search it independently. A recent visit to the National Dinosaur Museum with Miss 6 and 60 Year 1 classmates showed that the interest has not waned, (and the theft of one of the dinosaurs overnight just added to the excitement). They were able to get their tongues around all those names without a hitch - even the second-youngest little person in my life can point to a picture and say, T-Rex. Of course, this is not new - we know that students constantly ask for books about dinosaurs so to be able to offer them a whole series of them that not only satisfy their interests but also supports their developing reading skills is bliss-on-a-stick! This could be the trigger that moves the reluctant reader along to independence because they WANT to read the stories for themselves.
In the first book, Tyrannosaurus in the Veggie Patch, Jack wishes for his own dinosaur but you can imagine his surprise when a live one turns up in his vegetable patch! Much as he would like to keep it, this soon proves impossible so he and his friend Toby build a time machine to send it back to the Cretaceous period. Trouble is, they end up going too! And so the adventures start... In the other books in the series, Sam, Susie, Tom and Tam all have their very own encounters that would be the envy of the readers, as well as teaching them a little at the same time.
The humour is perfect for this age and speaks of an author that knows just what appeals. The format of these books is perfect for that 5-8 year old group with a large font which is interspersed with other interesting fonts that really help that inner voice develop expression and interest. Short sentences help carry the story along at a fast clip and the vocabulary is really well-chosen. The speech of the characters is age-appropriate but there are still technical words used as well as figurative language that will really appeal. The story is accompanied by engaging illustrations which contain a lot of movement and humour and really support the text - there has been a lot of thought put into their design and placement. Even though each book is over 100 pages long, the choice and balance of fonts, illustrations, and chapter lengths make them very accessible to their target age of K-3. I have three six-year-olds in my life and I know what is going to be the in-demand bedtime story when they come to stay these holidays.