When Dinosaurs Die:
A Guide to Understanding Death
by Laurie Krasny Brown and Marc Brown

Marc and Laurie Krasny Brown's
When Dinosaurs Die: A Guide to Understanding Death

Children's book review by Steve Barancik

Ages 4-8

A picture book about death

As part of their Dino Life Guides for Families, husband-wife team Marc Brown (of the Arthur books) and Laurie Krasny Brown have written a true A to Z guide on the subject of death for the picture book set.

Not a story book, think of this book as covering anything and everything your young child might want to know about death and dying, and doing so with great sensitivity.

When Dinosaurs Die - summary and review

This is the book to have around before you need it; when death happens, you might not be at your best for your kids. It's a surprisingly comprehensive guide that can help you make sure you're giving your kids what they need - understanding, context, comfort - at a difficult time.

Don't get hung up on the "dinosaur" notion. These dinosaurs are no more dinosaurs than Arthur and his folk are aardvarks. Sure, they happen to be green, and they have tails sticking out of their pants, but the similarity ends there.

How comprehensive is this book? The Table of Contents should give you an idea. 

How many picture books even have a Table of Contents?

From deaths of pets to deaths of close family members, from passing in old age to the death of a newborn, it's all covered. Brown and Brown are convincing in putting forward that death is simply a part of life, and that you, child, can handle it.

In fact, there are no shortage of suggestions for how to honor the dead. Children need something to do even during the toughest times, and this book provides ideas that you might not think of. Review continues.

curiosity about death and dying

When Dinosaurs Die makes the point in the early pages that death can be expected or can come as a surprise.

Since that's the case, and since you aren't going to run straight out to the bookstore when it happens, this book belongs in your home before it's absolutely necessary.

In fact, since children inevitably take an interest in death before they're directly effected by it, this is a book you'll likely want to share even during happy times.

There's a little "dinosaur" child on the title page, saying,

All this dying stuff makes me feel sad, worried and afraid.

That's your child before before you both read this book together. That same child, at the end of the book, is saying,

Isn't being alive awesome?

When Dinosaurs Die will surely help you put death into a context your children can handle and embrace.

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