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Want to know how to spot a Dinosaur? We find out with Author Suzy Senior

Author Suzy Senior

Spotting amazing Dinosaur books for young children is tough, there are just so many of them!

How about we help you out? Guide you in pointing your binoculars in the right direction as it were?

For all the mini-Dino spotters out there, we can heartily recommend 'How to Spot a Dinosaur' as a brilliant bedtime read. Like all the best stories for young children, this Dinosaur tale (or should that be tail? DO YOU SEE WHAT I DID THERE! PUNS. WE'VE GOT 'EM) is told in rhyme.

The story follows two teeny dino fans determined to spot some dinosaurs on their day out at the park. Things don't work out too well though, as there don’t seem to be ANY dinosaurs to find. Sure, it looked like there was an Oviraptor hiding behind the swing, but it turned out to just be a friendly pigeon.

Thankfully, with help from a fellow dino spotter, they find themselves somewhere very special. An incredible place where spotting dinosaurs is always absolutely guaranteed!

What follows is a fabulous tale suitable for all ages! We enjoyed the book so much that we set out to speak to its author - Suzy Senior - and find out all about those hard-to-spot Dinosaurs.

Imagining History - Hi Suzy, you tell us a little more about your book ‘How to Spot a Dinosaur'?

Suzy Senior - Hello and thank you! The book is about two young dino fans, determined to spot a dinosaur on their trip to the park. They take their binoculars and their big book of dino facts. But sadly, every time they spot one, it turns out to be something else! Like the oviraptor that turns out to be a cheeky pigeon eating chips. Eventually, they do end up somewhere very exciting, and find MUCH more than they expected.

Writing a book in rhyme, is that as crazy difficult as it sounds?

I LOVE writing in rhyme, but yes, it can be tricky. It feels a bit like doing a jigsaw – one where you don’t know whether you’ve got all the right pieces. The words I’d like to use don’t always rhyme, so I spend plenty of time taking verses apart and putting them back together differently. A rhyming dictionary is really useful, as well as a thesaurus to help with different ways of saying things! The important thing is to make the story feel natural, and not like you’ve forced it to rhyme. It’s lovely when it all comes together and flows nicely!

What Dinosaurs can readers expect to meet in the book?

We have all sorts! Definitely an iguanodon, ankylosaurus, diplodocus, scolosaurus, velociraptors, and even a T. rex! There might be lots more – maybe a triceratops with a spiky head or a brontosaurus with a huge bottom - or those might just be something else. Who knows?

Tell us a little about the fantastic artwork! All those Dinosaurs look amazing.

Absolutely! Unless the author is also the illustrator, the publisher usually chooses the illustrator. And in this case, Farshore matched my story up with Dan Taylor. I think I got pretty lucky there! Dan’s dinosaurs and his dinosaur skeletons in the museum are AMAZING, and he’s done a brilliant job of all those ‘Is it a dinosaur? No, it’s not!’ moments. The characters he designed are wonderful, and there’s a gorgeous little dog that gets into mischief throughout the book. I reckon the triceratops in the deckchair might be one of my favourite bits. The look on its face is so funny.

How did you go about researching all these different Dinos?

Visiting the Natural History Museum in London was a big inspiration, and their website is full of great information too! It’s a long way from my home in South Yorkshire though, so I had to do a lot of research from non-fiction books and from online information such as natural history websites. I even looked at news websites for the most recent dino discoveries. It was really fun to research – I needed to find out about lots of dinosaurs, but also to make sure they looked different enough to keep the illustrations varied and have the right number of syllables in their names to make the rhythm of the story work!

Which Dinosaur would you want to spot?

A stegosaurus! They’re such a cool shape with all those bony plates. I’d still keep out of the way, because they’d be quite big and heavy, and I wouldn’t want to get squished. But as they’d be vegetarian, it would be reassuring to know that at least I wouldn’t get eaten!

And which Dinosaur would you absolutely definitely want to avoid?

An allosaurus! They’d have huge sharp teeth, be strong enough to eat other large dinosaurs, AND move pretty fast too. I would NOT want one of those to spot ME!

What are you working on next?

I’m currently working on events for another new book, Who Will Kiss the Crocodile. That’s illustrated by Claire Powell and published by Little Tiger Press. It’s a twist on the Sleeping Beauty story, so Claire has included fabulous scenes from both Victorian times and the 1980s! I’m also working on more rhyming picture books, with fairy-tale and animal themes – but with much easier names to rhyme this time!

A massive thank you to Suzy for taking the time to answer our questions!

To find out more about 'How to Spot a Dinosaur', please click here to head to the HarperCollins website.


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