Thursday, November 17, 2016

Learning from Picture Books – NEVER FOLLOW A DINOSAUR

I don't often find books with mysteries in them for young children, so I was intrigued by this one. It was especially fun that the children were hunting a dinosaur!

Summary from the Publisher:

Sally and Joe are convinced that the mysterious footprints they have discovered must belong to a dinosaur! Could it be? Join them as they follow the clues to find out…but wait -- what if Sally and Joe are right? What if it really is a dinosaur?

Never Follow a Dinosaur was written and illustrated by Alex Latimer. It was published in 2016 by Peachtree Publishers.


“One afternoon, Joe and his sister Sally spotted a strange set of footprints.”

My Thoughts as a Writer:

This cumulative story was a bit different than others that I’ve read since each time a new description of the dinosaur was added. I loved the idea of building on clues through the story.

The illustrations were fun! I really liked the way their imagined dinosaur changed as they found more clues and made more guesses.

My Thoughts as a Teacher:

The clear illustrations make this a nice book for reading aloud to a group. I really liked the clues and how the book modeled that knowing more changed their ideas about what the dinosaur might be like. I also really liked the plans they drew for their trap. It’s a good book for making inferences.

Ages: 5 - 8

Grades: K - 3

Themes: dinosaurs, mysteries, clues,


Make a list of the clues Joe and Sally found when hunting for the dinosaur. Is there another explanation?

Draw your own plan for a dinosaur trap. Label the key features that will help catch a dinosaur. 


  1. I will definitely be looking for this one. (I just checked at it's at my local library branch. Hooray!) I write a lot of mysteries and have been experimenting in this genre for younger and younger readers. Thanks for introducing me to this book!

  2. I like how the dinosaur changes with each new clue the children discover. This sounds like a fun book to discuss with children. "Based on this clue Sally and Joe found, what do you think the dinosaur will look like now?" Yes, I can see I need to check this book out. Thanks for a great review.

  3. Great classroom book, as you have noted, with lots of good follow up activities possible. Fun!

  4. Andrea, thanks. Can't wait to get a look at this. Possible mentor text. :-) It reminds me of the original paleontologists who had some of the first skeletons totally pieced together wrong. Even with their "best" guesses. Nice addition to my library.


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