Title: Dinosaurs Don’t Have Bedtimes!
Author: Timothy Knapman
Illustrator: Nikki Dyson
Publisher: Walker Books
Genre: Children’s picture book
Book format: Paperback
Sweet Strawberries: Sweet StrawberrySweet StrawberrySweet Strawberry

Description:  Mum is trying to get her rather lively dino-obsessed child ready for bed, but this little boy won’t go easy . he’s got a dinosaur-themed comeback (and a ROARY action) for everything! Dinosaurs don’t have to eat all their dinner, wash their hair or brush their teeth … so why should he? And as bedtime beckons, the little boy gets more and more lost in his imaginative world. Will mum ever get him to close his eyes?

*Free copy provided by publisher for review…

Review:  ‘Dinosaurs Don’t Have Bedtimes’ is a simple storybook aimed at very young kids.  The story is about Mo, a young boy who is dressed up and thinks himself a dinosaur.  When Mummy tells Mo it’s time for supper, Mo tells her ‘Dinosaurs don’t HAVE suppertimes!’.  When Mummy tells Mo it’s time for a bath, Mo tells her ‘Dinosaurs don’t HAVE bath times!’.  And when Mummy tells Mo it’s time for bed, he tells her ‘Dinosaurs don’t HAVE bedtimes!’

I have mixed feelings about this book.  It is a wonderfully illustrated book with plenty of colours and dinosaur images that children will love.  Whenever Mo explains what dinosaurs don’t do he tells his mum what they will do.  The illustrations go from pictures of Mo (dressed up as a dinosaur) and his mum at home, to images of the little green dinosaur Mo playing and messing about in a dinosaur world.  There aren’t too many words in the book although a few times they rhyme.  The whole book is about Mo refusing to do everything that his mum wants him to do because he’s a dinosaurs and they don’t do those things.

At the end of the story Mo finally falls asleep but still refuses right to the end.  There’s no nice or moral message of any kind.  It’s this that makes me have mixed feelings about this book.  Although there’s nothing wrong with the story showing the brat-like behaviour of Mo, throwing food around, causing a mess, running from the bath, etc., there’s no final message to show kids that this sort of behaviour isn’t alright.  There’s no message that despite all his behaviour he loves his mum, no message that he should tidy up after making a mess, nothing like that at all.  There doesn’t have to be a proper moral message in a picture book, but I do expect the story to feel good and in some way have a satisfying ending, but this one just doesn’t for me.

Throughout the story you see very fun images of the dinosaur world and these will really excite kids but at the same time there is an overly exhausted mum and in the end the house is a mess, his room is a mess and the message seems to be that it’s alright for kids to act in a naughty way and they’ll just finally fall asleep at the end.  I’m sure plenty of kids wouldn’t copy such behaviour but it’s not the best message in a children’s book in my opinion.

The illustrations are all very nice and I’m sure plenty of kids will enjoy the dinosaurs.  I’m also sure many people would like to read this storybook to their kids at bedtime, perhaps discussing what happens at the end and why that’s not okay, but for me, I just don’t like this book that much, it’s a shame the story doesn’t have a better ending.

-Review first appeared online August 2016 – now republished here.

Do you like this book?  What sort of bedtime books do you like reading?  Let me know what you think in the comments below 🙂