Dinosaurs’ Christmas, by Liza Donnelly (1991)
When I showed this to BoyChild and said it was one of the dinosaur Christmas books I had picked up, he was confused at first until saw the dinosaur ornaments on the tree. When I pointed out the large dino face in the window…then he got it! He loved looking at this book alone and having it read aloud as well!
A dinosaur-loving boy and his dog, Bones, go sledding on Christmas Eve. The boy spouts some completely non sequitur dinosaurs/Ice Age information before finding a great hill and sledding over several pages until…he goes up a dinosaur’s long tail! The Plateosaurus (because that’s what it is, apparently!) speaks to him in dinosaur language (I think–the speech bubbles are “translated” in the text beneath the pictures) and tells him that things are all haywire up at the North Pole because Santa’s elves are making the toy dinosaurs wrong! He brings the boy and Bones to the workshop where the boy sets them all straight, correcting face shapes and wing, tail, and spike placement on a variety of different types of dinosaur toys. Santa brings the bad news that all the reindeer are sick with the flu, and all seems lost until Plateosaurus puts out the call for help, and the living versions of all the toy dinosaurs show up to pull Santa’s sleigh. They drop the boy and his dog off at his house (via the chimney), and he declares it the best Christmas ever!
The art is pretty simple and not focused on realism. The dinosaurs depicted are not the top five you usually see (except the Pteranodon), so I can only assume they are somewhat accurately shown (although the Pentaceratops–which I assume should have five horns–only has three clearly visible). There are plenty of dinosaurs shown, so BoyChild really enjoyed previewing this book on his own. (He gave me a pretty good illustration-driven summary of the story, too!) The illustrations are a great middle ground between the very basic illustrations that often work best for very young readers and the more complex kind that older readers sometimes prefer; enough detail to provide a lot to look at but not so much realism as to make them too busy or distracting. The author/illustrator used “waterproof black ink and either a rapidiograph or quill pen. Paints are a concentrated watercolor called dyes” (via the front matter of the book). An illustrated glossary at the end of the book gives a general description, pronunciation guide, and name meaning for each of the dinosaurs in the book.
This book is really not a Christmas book as much as a dinosaur book, so that fan base is where you’ll find your audience for this title! The author has also written Dinosaurs’ Thanksgiving and Dinosaurs’ Halloween, all available either used or as a Kindle book!