Beginning with the adorable little white-hat-wearing, chocolate-skinned beauty on the cover (flanked by her humongous dinosaur, of course), author Alex Barrow’s newest picture book, If I Had a Dinosaur, grabs readers attention and never lets go.

This is a true “picture book,” telling the story of a little girl’s fantasy through pictures as well as text. For example, the book opens with half-sentences, half-pictures, like so:

In these few sentences, the MC (main character) tells how she has thought of acquiring a fish and even a hamster for pets, but they are simply too wet and too small. Her desire is for something much bigger—something the size of, say, a HOUSE! She then details the tricks she would teach her dinosaur (“sit” and “fetch”), how she would walk him in the park, give him water to drink, and feed him the best foods (in this case, cabbage, greens and broccoli).

This is a lovely little book for young children who dream of adopting their very first pets. It is full of basic information about how a pet needs exercise, love, discipline, and playtime so it won’t destroy things or dig holes in the yard. But the book is equally excellent in displaying the fun of a boundless imagination. For example, the young girl imagines riding her dinosaur to school—where, of course, none of the teachers or students are afraid of it. She also imagines that her dinosaur is smart enough to count and say the alphabet, and drinks an entire pond dry when it gets thirsty. She even imagines making a “dino-flap” (the equivalent of a doggy-door, only BIGGER) so her pet can come inside and sleep.

This is a fun little book full of energy, imagination and smiles. Mr. Barrow’s prose is short and sweet, but humorous enough to keep children laughing—and it’s written in adorable rhyme that’s always-on-beat. Artist Abby Dawnay’s illustrations include round-headed children and adults, round-eyed, smiling dinosaurs, and bright pastel colors that are warm and inviting.

Use this little book for discussions on pets, responsibility, and the importance of exercising your imagination.

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