Review of How Do Dinosaurs Say I’M MAD? by Jane Yolen & Mark Teague

How Do Dinosaurs Say I'M MAD?
Everybody gets angry sometimes. Kids do. So do parents. Sometimes we get angry when we’re scared, or want something we can’t have, or are feeling mean or feeling sick. Anger can be very frightening, and it can make people sad. But there are lots of ways to learn how to control anger, just as the dinosaurs do in this book. Some of them count to ten, some of them have a time out, and some of them take deep breaths. Then, when the dinosaurs are calm again, they clean up any mess they’ve made, they say, “I’m sorry,” and they give big hugs. Just as you do.
(From inside description.)

Release date: September 2014
Publisher: Scholastic Inc.
Pages: 40
Source: Library’s summer reading program prize

As you may have guessed, we have a soft spot for dinosaurs around here. Little S couldn’t resist picking this book as her prize for being part of the library’s summer reading program, not with that awesome dinosaur on the cover. I, however, was a little hesitant after flipping through it because it had an awful lot of pages depicting bratty behavior. I didn’t want Little S to get any ideas! She has a very sweet nature and hardly ever gets mad, and we’d like to keep it that way. So while she was engaged at the arts & crafts table making a superhero mask (how cool is our library’s summer reading program?), I sat down and read How Do Dinosaurs Say I’M MAD? with Little E to make sure this was the book we wanted to take home.

And I have to say, I loved How Do Dinosaurs Say I’M MAD?. Little E wasn’t too thrilled, but that’s because I kept dancing the big beautiful fragile pages out of reach of her grabby little hands. We have the paperback edition, and it’s a 12-inch-tall book, with absolutely gorgeous illustrations of all sorts of dinosaurs in all stages of temper tantrums. Lovely for older kids, not great for babies or toddlers, who need to be able to touch and grab books to experience them.

How Do Dinosaurs Say I’M MAD? is actually a book about how kids say they’re mad. Having huge, friendly dinosaurs enact all the crazy inappropriate things kids do during temper tantrums makes it easy for kids to identify, “Oh no! You shouldn’t do that!” Our Little S immediately pointed out how silly the dinosaurs looked when they were mad, too. When we reached the point where the book explains how dinosaurs actually handle their anger, she was also excited because the dinosaurs did what we do: time out, take deep breaths, and make up.

So even though I was initially worried about the content, How Do Dinosaurs Say I’M MAD? is clearly meant to teach kids the proper way to handle anger, disappointment, and other difficult feelings. Aside from being delightfully funny and beautifully illustrated, this book prompted a really useful discussion between Little S and me about anger: How does Little S say she is mad? Which dinosaur is she most like? Is this really an appropriate way to show her feelings, or does she look just as silly as some of these dinosaurs? What would be a better way to handle moments when we are angry?

The only thing I do wish the book included was talking over the reasons why you are mad with the person who made you mad, which I think is a crucial step in letting go of anger. But maybe this way the book agrees with more parenting styles.

Our rating? 5 out of 5 Stars