Dancing with the Dinosaurs book cover image

Dancing with the Dinosaurs

  • 1295

By: Jane Clarke / Illustrated by: Lee Wildish

You’ve never seen anything like it—and you’ve got a front row seat!

Elegant and swellegant, hilarious and hysterical: Come one, come all to the show that’s cooler than the Ice Age, and wackier and wilder than any dance competition on TV. It’s Dancing With the Dinosaurs—and the awesome, clawsome contestants are ready to party!

Which prehistoric performers are set to appear? Quick, take a look: T-Rex is here. His fang-tastic tango burns up the floor. Isn’t that exciting? But wait . . . there’s more. See some disco with the Duckbills, tap-happy raptors, Tracey Tops with body pops, and a moonwalk with Miss Maia. The All-saur All-stars are real twinkle toes. These dinos can do anything! They boogaloo, twist and shout, jig, waltz, and samba.

Kids love dinosaurs, and this loopy lineup of dancing creatures will have them laughing, moving, and joining in the fun. The rhythmic, rhyming text is happily musical, and the exuberant, colorful art features humorous touches throughout—like witty judges’ comments, comic costumes, and wacky moves.

Look Inside the Book:

Author & Illustrator Bios:

Jane Clarke, author

Jane Clarke is a poet and acclaimed author of many picture books, including Gilbert the Great, illustrated by Charles Fuge, which won the Sheffield Children’s Book Award and the Norfolk Children’s Book Award. Jane won the Nottingham Children’s Book Award for the acclaimed Stuck in the Mud. She lives in Kent, England.

Read more about Jane.

Lee Wildish, illustrator

Lee Wildish has illustrated a number of best-selling picture books, including Dragon Stew, The Grunt and the Grouch, and Charlie’s Superhero Underpants. He lives in England.

Read more about Lee.

Editorial Reviews:

Kirkus Reviews

Each dinosaur has his favorite dance and really knows how to shake it!

The fang-tastic T. Rex serves as emcee, introducing a galaxy of dancing dinosaur stars. (He also does a mean tango.) The Duckbills favor disco, Steggy likes the Twist and the Raptors tap dance, complete with canes and hats. In all, 14 varieties of dinosaur step out, illustrated in bold full-page pictures. Tracey Triceratops, adorned with a sparkling gold necklace and matching shoes, does body pops. The Pachycephalosaurus brothers breakdance. Lily Dilophosaurus executes an elegant waltz, in a hot-pink gown and scarves for gesticulation. Patty Apatasaurus and her crew of three samba, careful to avoid the pile of poo she's deposited(!). Maia Maiasaurus moonwalks in one white glove. Judges hold up scores that vary wildly. And every few pages, a small illustration in the corner of the page depicts a judge being snatched away by green claws. Wildish's pictures are funny, but Clarke's rhyming text is disappointingly minimal, relying on the tropes of reality-TV dance shows that many in the audience may not recognize.

Appealing enough, but adds little to the substantial dinosaur subgenre.

Portland Book Review

What if dinosaurs replaced the famous actors and athletes on the hit reality television show “Dancing with the Stars”? Of course the Tyrannosaurus Rex would have to be the host. The judges, dancers and audience would be kept in line by the threat of becoming the host’s lunch. Jane Clarke’s Dancing with the Dinosaurs introduces prehistoric creatures to young children as if they were contestants on a highly popular game show. Each dinosaur has a cute outfit, a dance move and a name emblematic of either a famous musician or dinosaur species. While the book isn’t entirely educational, it does offer colorful, engaging pictures and cute, sometimes rhyming tag lines. The book is perfect for any toddler or early reader. –Rachelle Barrett

Publishers Weekly

It s a running joke that the celebrities on Dancing with the Stars are often a bit past their prime, but the stars of this reality-show riff are downright extinct. And while some of the puns used to introduce the 14 contestants are dated ("The Hadrosaur Duckbills are everything they re quacked-up to be"), Clarke s upbeat rhymes and the electric palette of Wildish s cartoons should hold readers attention. "Tango with our T. Rex,/ do the Steggy twist and shout!/ Disco with the Duckbills/ and shake is all about," writes Clarke (Gilbert the Great), as Wildish (Dragon Stew) portrays the dancers in goofy costumes (Steggy is, for some reason, dressed like a hippie, while the duckbills strike their best Saturday Night Fever poses in platform shoes). The high stakes are even higher for the judges, seen disappearing, one by one, in insets that build a bit of tension before a finale that reminds readers that a dancing T. rex is still a T. rex. It s fun, lighthearted entertainment, best enjoyed by budding fans of either dinosaurs or dancing.

School Library Journal

In this oversize picture book, numerous contestants are gathering for the Dinosaur Dance judging, among them Steggy Stegosaurus, T. Rex, and Patty Apatosaurus. The emcee, a large unidentified dinosaur with sharp teeth and big claws, introduces the participants one by one: "Tap along with raptors,/do the Troodie boogaloo,/stomp a 'saurus samba/round Patty's pile of poo." Each large page shows one of the flamboyantly bright reptiles doing its thing. Meanwhile, the four diminutive dino judges are shown in front of the stage, holding up cards with numbers after the contestants perform, but--strangely--the judges seem to be disappearing as the show progresses. The final two spreads announce: "Come on! Dance with dinosaurs!/You could be a winner!/It's tons of fun for everyone, until it's time... [page turn]... for dinner!" The corresponding artwork depicts the emcee chasing all of the dinosaurs. On the last page, he says "Good night!" and wipes his mouth with a hankie as bones litter the floor around him. With many small details to be discovered in the exuberant and wildly colorful illustrations, this amusing story is suitable for one-on-one sharing or storytimes. –Judith Constantinides, formerly at East Baton Rouge Parish Main Library, LA


Download the Cover


ISBN: 978-1-936140-67-1

E-book PDF
ISBN: 978-1-60734-421-6
For information about purchasing E-books, click here.

Ages: 3 and up
Page count: 32
9 1/2 x 11 1/2

If you like this book, you’ll enjoy these:
Kenya's Song
Little Pig Joins the Band