We’re thrilled to have a guest blog from award-winning picture book creator Rob Biddulph on his creatively cretaceous Dinosaur Juniors series. Book 2, Give Peas a Chance is out in paperback this week and Book 3, Wide Awake, is out in hardback. We absolutely adore this series for younger readers and can’t wait for you to discover it!
When my editors at HarperCollins suggested I try writing a series of character-based books for younger readers, the image of a baby dinosaur hatching out of an egg immediately sprang to mind. Soon after came the title: Dinosaur Juniors (fans of nineties grunge music will get the reference). I felt that a cast of cute, cretaceous creatures would help me tell stories that pertained to the issues that young children face on a daily basis, albeit with a prehistoric twist. Hopefully readers will be able to readily identify with the emotions their dino counterparts are feeling, and on some level learn how to deal with them.
The first story, Happy Hatchday, deals with friendship worries. Greg (short for Gregosaurus) is feeling lonely because all of the other Dinosaur Juniors hatched a week before him. They have already buddied up and don’t want to include him in their games. Things aren’t quite as they seem, however, and you can rest assured that all will end happily. Maybe even with a spot of disco-dancing.
The second book is called Give Peas a Chance (I still can’t believe I was allowed to call it that!) and this time Nancy the Spinosaurus takes centre stage. She doesn’t like eating vegetables, so when faced with a plateful of peas she comes up with a plan to trick her friends into eating them for her. Needless to say, things don't quite work out the way she thought they would...
Wide Awake, the third book in the series, deals with the perennial problem of children not wanting to go to sleep at night. Winnie is wide awake and it falls on her sleepy twin brother Otto to try and come up with a clever plan to help her drop off. The book is full of lots of interactive elements that parents can use with their own children to help them get to sleep in real life. If it works for dinosaurs, it’ll work for humans too!
It’s a real challenge to write for this age group, but one I am relishing. The world we are creating is one that’s rich and full of potential for more stories. The more I get to know the cast of characters the more I fall in love with them. I really hope my readers, both children and parents, will find a place in their hearts for the Dinosaur Juniors too.