When Dinosaurs Die

When Dinosaurs Die

When Dinosaurs DieWhen Dinosaurs Die: A Guide to Understanding Death

Brown, Laurie Krasny and Marc Brown





In the newest title in their sensible, upbeat self-help series, the Browns (Dinosaurs to the Rescue, 1992, etc.) take on the subject of death. Crowded cartoons plunge right in, with terse explanations of what it means to be living and how death is part of the cycle. Any philosophical bent soon gives way to illustrations showing a hospital patient hooked up to tubes, premature babies too small to survive, and accident victims (complete with EMS vehicles and IVs), as well as loss of life in war, as the result of social problems, and through suicide. Confusing for a picture-book audience may be the juxtaposition, in one spread, of play with a toy gun–“”Bang, bang. You’re dead””–with a real dead bird. Feeling, funerals, reincarnation, resurrection, sitting shivah–the few things that don’t make it into the text (autopsy, wake) can be found in the glossary. The coverage sometimes raises more questions than it answers (a youngster worries about family finances, only to be soothed by a parent), but just as Dinosaurs Divorce (1986) stressed the continuing love between parents and children, this book, too, has at its center a positive message: Grieve, and go on with living.

Amazon Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

PW gave a starred review to this “balanced, comprehensive and age-appropriate” explanation of death and its emotional aftermath, featuring the amiable cast from Dinosaurs Divorce. Ages 4-8.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Ages 5^-8. Unlike many books on death for little ones, this one doesn’t tell a story. Instead, it addresses children’s fears and curiosity head-on, and in a largely secular fashion, by answering some very basic questions: “Why does someone die?” “What does dead mean?” “What comes after death?” Other questions deal with emotions, and there’s a section about death customs (the weakest part of the book). The forthright approach makes the subject seem less mysterious and provides kids with plenty to think about and discuss with their parents. It’s the brightly colored artwork, however, that will really enable children to relax with the concept. The pictures are filled with homey clutter and familiar detail, and the activities of the appealingly quirky characters (who resemble dinosaurs in only the broadest way) add a strong, comforting sense of what can only be called normalcy.  Stephanie Zvirin

Amazon Reader Review

Explaining death to a child is never easy for an adult, but the Browns’ book really helps. You’ll find difficult concepts made much simpler with colorful illustrations that remind the child of the “Arthur” cartoon series which the author also created.
The kids with whom I have worked professionally have loved the little green dinosaurs who experience and express the same thoughts and feelings. When I talked to my daughter’s preschool class a few years back after the class hamster died, I used parts of this book in my explanation.
The brilliance of the Browns’ concept is that one doesn’t have to read the book straight through. A parent or teacher can choose to use two or three pages. In fact, each two-page spread tends to develop a specific concept such as funerals, cause of death, what death means, etc.
As a matter of fact, this would be a nice addition to elementary school libraries and classrooms, especially when discussing the death part of their living things science units.
It’s interesting in my own professional library that this book takes its place right along with all of the academic volumes on death, bereavement, and counseling theory!