DinOtrux. New York: Little, Brown and Company.
30-Second Plot Summary: Dinotrux imagines a prehistoric world in which dinosaurs are also part truck. Different types of trucks are different types of dinosaurs.
As I read through this picturebook, I couldn't help but be reminded of Transformers. But that's fine! Cause the connection over uniting a living creature with machine may be just the thing to capture a reader's interest. That is, assuming the kiddies managed to survive watching the second Transformers movie.
Since Gall combines dinosaurs with trucks and assigns them each a personality, students can do the same, creating their own hybrids and maybe even combining dinosaurs with other forms of technology. Another option would be to create more stories featuring the dinotrux, since Gall shows minimal interaction among the beasts/machines. Machinish beasts? Beastly machines? Dinotrux.
Since the cave-people in the illustrations are at points living in fear of the dinotruxs and at other times using the dinotruxs' skills to their advantage, a teacher can use this to discuss the way animals and machines work in people's lives and could encourage students to write their own stories of how a child-cave-person could befriend a dinotrux.
Of course, the book could also trigger actual history and science lessons about dinosaurs, their habits, diets and theories of their extinction and/or evolution. (It is worth noting, Dinotrux includes mention of a"flash of light and a terrible storm" and some moving south and evolving) The picturebook would also provoke a discussion of skeletal remains...of REAL dinosaurs.
Inevitably, a teacher will also have to be ready to guide students to separate historical fact from fun-fantasy fiction and be ready to say, "Yes, yes, dinosaurs existed. I know, surprising and AWESOME, right? No, no Dinotrux. Sorry. But you can appreciate that huge trucks are comparable to dinosaurs. Kinda. Sorta. Maybe. Just don't cry, kid."
Quotes of Note:
"Millions of years ago
prehistoric trucks roamed the earth.
They were huge.
They were hungry.
But they weren't helpful like they are today.
They rumbled, roared, and chomped.
And they did not get along well with others."
"Look! High in the branches...
He was always sticking his now
where it didn't belong."
"Dumploducus was a litterbug."
Tasty Rating: !!!