Monday, February 27, 2012
Our own Kristina Seleshanko has written many books, in several different genres. She has recently made available a free ebook called A Day with the Dinosaurs. Written to appeal to elementary students who enjoy The Magic Tree House series, A Day with the Dinosaurs is packed with action, adventure, science, and humor. However, it steers clear of the magical and mythological influences many Christians wish to avoid.
When Matt accidentally tries out his friend Tilly's latest invention, he has no idea it will transport them to an amazing prehistoric jungle. Even Tilly is surprised the time machine actually works. As third-graders, Matt and Tilly know enough about geography and archaeology to realize it is unusual to see kangaroos, giraffes, deer and lions all living in the same space, especially without eating each other. They are even more shocked to see a brachiosaurus and a tyrannosaurus rex exchange slobbery "kisses." It doesn't take the children long to realize they have traveled to the Garden of Eden, before Adam and Eve sinned.
As Matt and Tilly experience the garden, they wonder whether common scientific theories are mistaken. Maybe it was possible for humans, dinosaurs, and diverse species of animals to co-exist. However, this harmony can't last long. As the children watch, they see the Lord rebuke Adam and Eve for their disobedience. They also see animals become aggressive and prey on others--the consequences of the fall.
Once home, Tilly explains the fall, sin, and Jesus' salvation to Matt, who is sad about the way the garden changed, but interested in the Jesus Tilly talks about so much.
The book includes lots of color pictures, and several extras at the end, including "Fun Facts" (including explanations of biblical references to the Garden of Eden and possible dinosaurs, how Jesus saves us, and comparison pictures of a cedar tree and a brachiosaurus' neck). "Other Stuff to Think About" lists questions for kids and families, and Seleshanko provides a link to "More Fun Dinosaur Stuff."
What I Like: I love the combination of action, adventure, and animals. Readers will have fun learning about all the different animals and be intrigued by Matt and Tilly's adventures. The short chapters and consistent action mean children won't have time to get bored.
I also like the great biblical messages intertwined throughout the story. Not only do we learn about Creation, the Garden of Eden, and the fall, but Seleshanko presents the salvation message clearly, in kid-friendly terms. Too often, we assume children know what it means to be a Christian, but is great to hear Tilly explaining her faith to Matt, in typical third-grade language.
I appreciated all the extras at the end of the book. It is nice to have so many questions answered, as well as be given some great ideas for discussion.
What I Dislike: Nothing! At first, the talking parrot seemed odd, but if a serpent could talk to Adam and Eve and convince them to eat the apple, I don't know why a parrot couldn't talk to Tilly and Matt and show them how to get home.
Overall Rating: Excellent
Age Appeal: 5-10
Publisher Info: eBook, 40 pages, FREE!
Special Note: Although managing editor Kristina Seleshanko wrote the book, neither she nor I receive any monetary compensation for making the book available or posting this review.