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When Dinosaurs Die: A Guide to Understanding Death (Dino Life Guides for Families) Paperback – April 1, 1998

4.3 out of 5 stars 86 customer reviews

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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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 7 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 3
  • Lexile Measure: 340L (What's this?)
  • Series: Dino Life Guides for Families
  • Paperback: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers; Reprint edition (April 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316119555
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316119559
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 0.2 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (86 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #24,169 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Anne on August 25, 2004
Format: Paperback
Don't buy this non-sentimental look at death if your favorite book is Love You Forever.

If however, you want something that doesn't dwell excessively upon emotions, that discusses lucidly what death is and what it means, then this is an excellent choice. A parent trying to explain death to a child doesn't need a book full of emotional upheaval or roundabout references to death.

Of course there are flaws. But this book isn't about leaves, about dogs, cats or focussed on the death of an older person. It covers all areas adeptly. I liked it for the slightly distanced look at a subject that evokes a tremendous surge of feelings.

I bought it as a gift for a recently bereaved family (lost daddy). I plan on buying another copy for my family so the topic of death is covered before I'm too distraught to carefully guide my kids through that scene.

Very highly recommended.
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By A Customer on February 1, 2000
Format: Paperback
I bought this book to help answer my 4 year olds questions about death. I felt this book is too much information for that age. She needed answers not new fears. This book brings up suicide and drug abuse. More appropraite for an older child.The book "Lifetimes" was exactly what I needed.
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Format: Hardcover
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!
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Format: Paperback
2 years ago my husband was diagnosed with terminal cancer. When it looked like it was getting close and time to tell my girls (then ages 2 and 5) that Daddy was dying, the oncology nurse suggested this book. We sat down with our 5 year old and read it to her and explained to her that Daddy was going to die. She referred back to this book a couple of more times on her own before and after his death. Two years later she still reads this book and reads it to her little sister, who was too young then to understand, whenever she questions Daddy's death.
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Format: Hardcover
This book is direct and honest about the subject of death. This book covers every aspect of death from old age to accidental to suicide. The death of a pet is also covered. Also looks at several belief systems of what happens after we die.
As parents we are afraid to talk about death to our children and with our children, this book broaches the subject in a way children can relate without sugarcoating it.
I wish I had this book to read to my 5 year old daughter when her great great uncle and great grandfather died within 1 month of each other.
Some areas maybe too intense for small children or very sesitive children so use discretion what information you read when reading to them.
I think this would be an excellent book for 3rd and 4th graders experiencing death of a loved one.
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Format: Paperback
I highly recommend this book.
Kids ask very direct questions about death, and this book addresses those questions. Let's face it...it isn't always hamsters or very old grandparents who pass away. Sometimes people in our children's world die at early ages from disease, accidents, and even murder and suicide (both cases have touched our rather sheltered lives over the past six years that we've had children).
Kids seem to do better with simple direct answers rather than obtuse allegorical references to leaves turning brown and seasons changing.
This book allows you to step right up close to these unfortunate, tragic occurrences, acknowledge that they happen, and then move on. Because it's true that sooner or later death happens in our lives, and it happens in all kinds of ways, not just in tidy t.v. drama hospital bed settings.
Get this book so you will be prepared when you need it.
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Format: Hardcover
When Dinosaurs Die explains, in very direct terms, what it means to die. Also, it talks about the different ways a person dies, explains what different people believe happens after death, and what may be done to remember soneone who has died. The book even includes a glossary to define all the new words that may be associated with a death, such as autopsy and cremation. The author accomplishes all this without bias, or condescention. The language is simple enough for a child of four, the concepts, comforting, even for those of us in our thirties. Well worth owning.
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