Review by Hannah Coffey
Have you ever been upset because you were told you couldn’t do something? J.P., the young protagonist who loves dinosaurs, is very happy to go to the water park. But, he is sad to learn from the dinosaur-shaped sign that he is too short to ride the big waterslide with his sister. Now, J.P. must find a way to cheer himself up!
While this book is cartoonish in style, the art is cheery and colorful, highlighting the story’s message. Illustrations capture the fun and excitement of the water park, and characters’ emotions are vividly expressed through facial expressions. Emotions that are read in the text, such as “happiness” or “sadness,” are also clearly seen on the page, such as when JP is seen crying and frowning next to text that reads “I was so sad”.
This book would be fun for independent young readers, especially those who are fans of dinosaurs, but it would also be an excellent choice for a read aloud. Reading the story with a child opens up opportunities to talk about the situation JP finds himself in, as well as what strategies could be good to use in a sad or frustrating situation. Some elements of the visual narrative, such as when the dinosaur-shaped sign appears to come to life, don’t match the verbal narrative very well, and could be initially confusing. Overall, this book’s original story and cheery design make it a solid choice for beginning conversations with children in nearly grades about how to manage feelings in emotional situations.
J.P. and the Bossy Dinosaur
by Ana Crespo, illustrated by Erica Sirotich
Albert & Whitman Company, 2016
Hannah is a freshman at the U who loves dogs and the color yellow.