Dinosaur Dig by Penny Dale
Here’s one that H chose himself. I tried vigorously to dissuade him as the marriage of dinosaur with digger was, to be polite, an unpromising prospect. It also seemed a bit wrong at first glance for an author to unite these two subjects, simultaneously so beloved of toddler boys and yet so realistically unlikely ever to co-exist. It seemed a bit like offering H sugar-coated bacon or cheesy Frutellas.
Dinosaur Dig, however, is ever so gentle and funny and very subtly witty. I won’t spend long on it because it’s short and not at all complicated and you probably won’t read it that many times.
It’s all about the dinosaurs. They are a kind of scaly union of blokey builder with hyperactive toddler. Their faces have that mad joy that two year olds have while they are running and screaming. Their bodies, however, are muscly and powerful and they are clearly awesomely efficient manoeuvrers of construction machinery. They are like you, H, but they are builders too! And dinosaurs!
Then there is the climax: the dinosaurs have used their array of machines to build a sort of prehistoric stone age swimming pool that seems to have a strong Mayan influence, as well as a really good slide. This is so surreal and unexpected; pure literary genius.
H’s comment: ‘that one like Lofty!’, ‘that one like Roley!’, ‘that Fireman Sam’s hose!’ (Bob the Builder, Fireman Sam and Peppa have colonised his mind and he speaks of them all day and they people his dreams).