Danny and the Dinosaur Discussion Guide
Danny and the Dinosaur is about a little boy named Danny who discovers a dinosaur while visiting a museum. Much to Danny's surprise the dinosaur is real and journeys out of the museum with Danny and into the city.
As Danny and the dinosaur travel throughout the city they have all kinds of adventures together. They help people cross streets, take a river ride, visit a zoo, and play games of hide and seek.
When the day ends, the dinosaur returns to the museum and Danny returns home -- but Danny and the dinosaur leave one another with memories of an exciting day spent with a new friend.
- Children will learn about dinosaurs
- Children will explore friendships
- Children will investigate ways friends enjoy one another
Before Reading Activities
Show children pictures of dinosaurs. Explain that dinosaurs existed about 65 million years ago and are now extinct. Ask children: If dinosaurs were alive today and you and the dinosaurs could do something fun, what would you do? Since dinosaurs were very very large what kinds of things could they help you do that you can't do by yourself? If you could take a ride on a dinosaur's back, where would you want the dinosaur to take you? Explain to children that in the story they are about to hear, a boy named Danny meets a dinosaur and has some exciting adventures.
Share the book, Danny and the Dinosaur, with children. Then ask: How do you think Danny felt the first time the dinosaur spoke to him? How do you think Danny felt when he and the dinosaur left the museum? What other kinds of problems, besides the ones the dinosaur had in the film, do you think the dinosaur might have in the city? Which of Danny and the dinosaur's adventures was the most fun? Why? How do you think Danny and the dinosaur felt when they had to say goodbye? What could Danny and the dinosaur think about to make themselves happy after they reach their separate homes?
After Reading Activities
Have children compare the ways Danny and the dinosaur felt about one another at the beginning of the story and at the end. Ask: Do you think Danny and the dinosaur felt like better friends at the end of the day? Why? Why not? Have children discuss their own friendships and the kinds of things they like to do with their friends. Help children understand that friendships, whether between people, or people with pets, is something very special and important. Ask: How do you show your friends you care for them? What helps you to know that your friends care for you? What is the best thing about having a special friend (friends)?
Plan a field trip to a museum. Help prepare children for the trip by making simple checklists of items they should search for in the museum. (use simple pictures instead of words for younger children). Challenge children by seeing how many items they can find once you arrive at the museum.
Have children pay particular attention to dinosaur skeletons which may be on display at the museum. Discuss how the size and shape of the dinosaurs is different from animals children see today.
Supply a large sheet of craft paper, paint and scissors that children can use to paint and cut out their own dinosaur. When the dinosaur has dried, have children write their stories, or print them as they dictate them to you, and display them by stapling them to the dinosaur.
Help children build skill in estimating by playing a game of "How big is a dinosaur?" List the measurement of a Tyrannosaurus Rex on the chalkboard (approx. 50 feet long). Then ask: How many rulers would you have to line up to be as long as this dinosaur? How many of your friends would have to lie down, fingers to toes, to be as long as a dinosaur? Record children's responses. Then have children watch as you calculate the different measurements to see which estimates are closest to the actual length of a Tyrannosaurus Rex.
Encourage children to think about other kinds of animals they might want for a friend. Ask: What kinds of things would you and your animal friend do together? What kinds of things would you do with this animal that you couldn't do with other kinds of animals? What special abilities does your animal friend have? How would you introduce your animal friend to your other friends? What kinds of games would you like to play with your animal friend and other friends? Remind children of the hide and seek game Danny and the dinosaur played with Danny's friends. Ask: Why do you think Danny told his friends to pretend they couldn't see the dinosaur?
Video programs about friendship available from Weston Woods include:
Danny and the Dinosaur by Syd Hoff
Andy and the Lion by James Daugherty
Apt. 3 by Ezra Jack Keats
Arnie the Doughnut by Laurie Keller
The Beast of Monsieur Racine by Tomi Ungerer
The Caterpillar and the Polliwog by Jack Kent
Chato and the Party Animals by gary Soto, ill. by Susan Guevara
Happy Birthday, Moon by Frank Asch
The Happy Lion by Louise Fatio, ill. by Roger Duvoisin
Here Comes the Cat! by Frank Asch and Vladimir Vagin
Hondo and Fabian by Peter McCarty
The Island of the Skog by Steven Kellogg
Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel by Virginia Lee Burton
TO ORDER: For Public Library sales call 800-243-5020 / For School Library sales call 800-621-1115.
This guide may be photocopied for free distribution without restriction.
Copyright 2008 Weston Woods.