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The Picture Book Buzz

How to Grow a Dinosaur - Perfect Picture Book Friday #PPBF

Have a new sibling arriving soon? Perhaps a kid who loves dinosaurs? Or just absolutely adore "How to . . ." picture books. Have I got a book for you today!

Jill Esbaum (I am Cow, Hear Me Moo!) and Mike Boldt (I Don't Want to be a Frog) have combined to create a hysterical romp through the trials and joys of "growing" a sibling. The perfect book to share with a young child who has (or is about to) become a big sister or brother.

How to Grow a Dinosaur

Author: Jill Esbaum

Illustrator: Mike Boldt

Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group (2018)

Ages: 2-5



New siblings, dinosaurs, and family

Synopsis (from Barnes & Noble):

Big brother dinosaur can't wait to teach the new baby everything he knows in this funny, sweet, surprisingly practical "guide" for big siblings, from the celebrated artist of I Don't Want to Be a Frog

Good news: Your mom's hatching a baby! Bad news: Babies take their sweet time. And when the baby finally hatches? He's too little to play! He mostly screeches, eats, burps, sleeps, and poops. He doesn't even know he's a dinosaur! That's where you come in. You can teach the baby just about everything—from peek-a-boo to roaring to table manners to bedtime. Growing a dinosaur is a big job, but you're perfect for it. Why? Because one thing your baby brother wants more than anything . . . is to be just like you.

With silly kid-humor and sincere, moving moments, this new-sibling book is a perfect combination of funny, reassuring, and truly useful. It captures the excitement and joy of getting to guide a little brother or sister through life, and uses big laughs, great surprises, and gentle lessons to empower kids in how to be a great sibling and role-model to littler ones. Great for family reading and reading aloud.

Opening Lines:


Your mama's hatching a baby!


Babies take their sweet time.

They don't know you're out there waiting.

Why I like this book:

Although there are many new sibling books out there, few are quite this humorous and none have such adorable dinosaurs. Mike Boldt's illustrations are so expressive and bold, they definitely capture the joys and frustrations of a new sibling.

With wonderfully succinct text, Jill Esbaum humorously delivers the good and bad news about babies. While unfortunately they can't play (immediately), they do scream, and they well . . .

There is good news. Being a big sibling means that you know all about being a dino (or kid) and can teach your new baby. The older dino's attempts to understand and keep the baby safe are hysterical. Who'd have thought a saber-tooth cat was a chew toy? And s/he learns that baby's tendency to mimic may be good or bad -

Overall, this is a delightfully funny, tender book on being a big sibling. The "how to" aspect, Good News/Bad News exclamations, and dino roars make it a great read-aloud sure to encourage a kid's involvement.


Make a dino mask, toilet paper roll dinosaurs, dino feet (out of Kleenex boxes) and many, many more dinosaur activities -

- check out other books about new siblings. Some ideas at:

- draw a picture of something you can do with your baby, something you can teach your baby, and something only you can do.

- find something special just the two of you can do together.

If you missed it, Jill Esbaum stopped by to talk about How to Grow a Dinosaur, her writing, and offer some thoughts on being a writer.

This post is part of a series by authors and KidLit bloggers called Perfect Picture Book Fridays. For more picture book suggestions see Susanna Leonard Hill's Perfect Picture Books.

Maria Marshall

 Photograph © A. Marshall

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